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New Mexico Brightens Lights to Save Money

March 4, 2010 - 12:28pm

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By summer, all traffic, warning and pedestrian signals in New Mexico will be replaced with LED lamps, which use significantly less electricity than incandescent lamps.

The project is funded by $5 million in Recovery Act money allocated to the State Energy Program, and about 75 percent of the changeovers are already complete. In Hobbs, the savings on the city’s electric bill could add up to about $20,000 in one year thanks to the retrofitting of 42 intersections.

While the intersections throughout the state are operated and maintained by the Department of Transportation, the resulting electric utility bills are paid by local governments. But with the 80-percent savings from the changes in lighting equipment, those communities will see an immediate reduction in electric costs.

“There are the energy and cost savings, as well as labor and safety savings because our traffic department doesn’t have to put people out in the middle of intersections changing an incandescent bulb somewhere every morning,” Todd Randall, city engineer, says.

Even the governor, like Hobbs’ residents, is happy to see the bright lights.

“It’s exciting to implement an energy-saving project that will touch communities across the entire state,” Gov. Bill Richardson said in a news release.

Not only will the LED bulbs save money, but they are also brighter and provide improved safety for vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians. As a direct result of this Recovery Act project, 10 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions will be avoided. That’s good news for not only New Mexico but for all Americans.

Editor's note: This story was modified on July 13, 2010 to update the amount of money Hobbs, N.M. is expected to save due to the energy upgrades.

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