Ferndale approves LED light conversion for all DTE-owned streetlights

By: Mike Koury | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published July 1, 2019

 At its June 24 meeting, the Ferndale City Council approved a proposal to convert all 1,744 DTE Energy-owned streetlights in the city to LED. The project will last into November.

At its June 24 meeting, the Ferndale City Council approved a proposal to convert all 1,744 DTE Energy-owned streetlights in the city to LED. The project will last into November.

File photo by Mike Koury

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FERNDALE — With a hope to save hundreds of thousands of dollars and improve its carbon footprint, the Ferndale City Council approved a proposal to convert all DTE Energy-owned streetlights in the city to LED.

The council approved the change at its June 24 meeting. For the next several months, 1,744 lights owned by DTE Energy will be converted into LED lights.

The approval comes after a joint presentation in April from the city’s environmental sustainability planner, Erin Quetell, and EcoWorks, an organization that focuses on energy education and making communities more sustainable. The presentation was an evaluation of the city’s streetlights, its inventory and possibly converting the streetlights to LED.

Quetell said at the June meeting that all 1,744 DTE-owned streetlights would be converted at a total cost of $418,240. For the project, DTE would contribute $69,750.

According to city documents, the current annual invoice for the streetlights is $479,533.01. With the conversion, the future annual invoice is estimated to be $318,454.59. The annual savings would be $161,078.42, figuring to be approximately $1.6 million after 10 years.

“The interesting thing about this proposal is that it has a payback period of (just over) two years, which is pretty remarkable,” Quetell said. “The savings that you would achieve is immediate as soon as the LEDs would be converted.”

Quetell told the Woodward Talk that the streetlights owned by Ferndale already have been converted or are going to be converted in the near future; the city owns more than 30 of the streetlights.

She noted at the meeting that most of those streetlights are in parking lots, with some located in the downtown.

The conversion is expected to be completed by Nov. 30.

“Those savings would be realized very quickly,” Quetell said.

Though the financial savings the city will receive is a plus, it isn’t the only big deal regarding this approval, Mayor Dave Coulter said.

“We wanted to reduce our carbon footprint and our energy use, and that’s important to us,” he said. “The significant savings for residents is an added incentive. This is significant — $1.6 million is significant savings — and to be able to achieve that and do the right thing environmentally turned out to be a no-brainer.”

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