On March 16, 2016, the Cheltenham Township Board of Commissioners voted to participate in a Guaranteed Savings Agreement with Johnson Controls, Inc. (JCI) to perform an Investment Grade Audit for the conversion of the Township’s lighting infrastructure to LED technology.
Between April and September 2016, JCI contractors and subcontractors will be operating in the Township taking an inventory of the Township’s streetlights, traffic and pedestrian signals, and exterior building and parking lot lighting. JCI will use this information to engineer an LED retrofit to these facilities that will reduce the amount of energy used, while improving the light coverage in the Township.
The Investment Grade Audit will provide the Township and JCI with detailed information to finalize the scope of the project and determine financing terms. The goal of this project is pay for the cost of upgrading the Township’s lighting infrastructure through the reduction in energy usage and the cost to operate and maintain the system. Based on the results of a Preliminary Audit, Cheltenham should realize a significant enough savings to finance the project without adding any capital of its own to the project.
The conversion of the Township’s streetlights from high pressure sodium bulbs to LED bulbs can reduce the Township’s energy usage by approximately 60%. The Township also anticipates significant maintenance savings since the life of a high pressure sodium bulb is 3-5 years and the life expectancy of an LED bulb is 20-25 years.
If the Investment Grade Audit proves that the Township will save enough money on its energy and maintenance costs to finance this project, the Board of Commissioners will consider taking the next step of implementing the project in July or August.
Cheltenham Township and 39 other municipalities in Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties are part of a Regional Streetlight Procurement Program through the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Committee that are utilizing the Guaranteed Energy Savings Act (PA Act 39 of 2010) to use bulk purchasing power to garner extremely competitive rates on labor and materials in order to complete this conversion.
Aside from the benefits of the reduced cost from such a large scale project, this project will also allow the Township to convert the entire Township lighting infrastructure to LED over a period of 12-18 months, rather than spreading it out over a period of five or more years.
The Township and the other participating municipalities are also able to take advantage of a low interest bond through the Pennsylvania Sustainable Energy Finance Program (PennSEF) to finance the project.
Finally, the Guarantee Savings Agreement is designed so the savings to the Township are guaranteed by JCI. If the Township does not realize the savings promised by the Agreement, JCI will pay the difference to the Township.