Fairfield City Council forging ‘Light Years Ahead’
Published Thursday, 23rd July 2015
Fairfield City Council, with eight other Western Sydney councils, has joined forces to reduce energy costs and consumption by replacing old and inefficient street lights in many of their suburbs.
WSROC’s Light Years Ahead project will replace about 13,000 street lights in nine Western Sydney local government areas – Blacktown, Blue Mountains, Fairfield, Hawkesbury, The Hills, Holroyd, Liverpool, Parramatta and Penrith. Installations of new lights have begun and will continue to March 2016, with the rollout staggered across the nine councils.
Old, inefficient mercury vapour lights will be replaced with energy efficient LED lights, which are cheaper and more sustainable to run. Councils will save an estimated $21 million over 20 years at current electricity prices. This project received funding from the Australian Government.
Fairfield City Council will replace in excess of 1,180 lights (more than 7% of the total lights) in 11 suburbs – Bonnyrigg Heights, Bossley Park, Canley Heights, Canley Vale, Edensor Park, Greenfield Park, Prairiewood, Smithfield, St Johns Park, Wakeley and Wetherill Park.
For Fairfield City ratepayers, the estimated saving over a period of 20 years is about $2.1 million and 6,480 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. The emissions savings are equivalent to lighting 8,100 Australian homes, heating and cooling more than 3,200 homes, or taking more than 1,500 cars off the road each year.
The project is the brainchild of the Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC), which has brought together nine of its member councils to participate.
WSROC President Councillor Tony Hadchiti said the project would bring many benefits to councils and residents.
“Public lighting costs millions of dollars each year, with street lighting dominating 55% of our councils’ energy costs,” Clr Hadchiti said. “So anything councils can do to reduce costs allows us to redirect funding to other projects, infrastructure and wider services.
“This is the biggest street lighting replacement project NSW has seen. We have 126,955 street lights in our nine councils. This project replaces more than 10 per cent of those lights. We hope this project is the start of future upgrades, so we can continue the great work we’ve started.
“There are major benefits for this project – not just the cost savings to councils and residents. By reducing our collective energy consumption we are making a major reduction in our carbon footprint.
“These savings are significant and show what councils can achieve when they work together. WSROC has shown that it can lead the way in ensuring financial as well as environmental sustainability for our councils.”
The Light Years Ahead project will be officially launched at Fairfield City Council on Thursday 30 July and will include demonstrations of the new lights and an opportunity to take photos with an LED street light. WSROC and Council staff will be on hand to answer questions.
Mayor of Fairfield City Frank Carbone said Council was committed to reducing costs for ratepayers in Fairfield City.
“Few people realise that Councils pay the cost of the electricity that powers street lighting,” Mayor Carbone said. “Reducing the annual power bill is an important cost reduction for ratepayers and residents.
“This project has a twofold benefit – it saves money for ratepayers and it delivers environmental benefits for future generations. At Fairfield City Council we undertake a range of projects that target improving the environmental sustainability of the City, including replacing lighting in car parks, tennis courts and public buildings with LED lighting.”
The Light Years Ahead project will also encourage Western Sydney residents to review their own energy practices and consumption. An event kit will travel to community information events across Western Sydney from June. WSROC and Council staff will share energy saving tips with residents, which can also be found at www.lightyearsahead.com.au – the project website.
This $7.8 million project began in June 2014 and is expected to be completed by May 2016.