published Friday, November 23rd, 2012

'Green' lights soon to brighten downtown Chattanooga


by Cliff Hightower

BY THE NUMBERS

* 27,000: Lights needed for entire city

* 5,200: Lights that will be installed beginning this year

* 500: Lights scheduled to be installed downtown in December

Source: Global Green Lighting Inc.

Christmas in downtown Chattanooga should be a little greener this year.

Don Lepard, chief executive officer of Global Green Lighting Inc., said 500 "green" light-emitting diode lights soon will start going up downtown.

"We're going to start putting lights up in December," he said.

The company plans to install 6,000 of the LED street lights in downtown and along the city's arterial streets by February, Lepard said, and another 21,000 lights as funding becomes available.

The lights are brighter than the existing fluorescents but use much less energy. Once installation is complete, the city expects to save $5 million a year in electricity costs, Lepard said.

The City Council in March voted to spend $6 million for the lighting project's first phases. Later phases will come as the city finds the money.

Heather Adcox, the city's green coordinator, said the project is running a little bit behind. She said the lights will start in Chattanooga's core.

"The 500 lights are downtown lights," she said.

Lepard said another 2,000 to 3,000 will be installed in January and the rest in February.

He said the company is about three months behind on installation because of a delay putting in the infrastructure for the new lights. But now the entire city street grid is primed for green lighting, Lepard said.

"The infrastructure has been installed for the entire city," Lepard said. "Was it hard? Yes. But we got it done."

Lepard said the company would start installing on South Market Street and head toward Interstate 24.

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