Living Sustainably: Holland is a leader in LED streetlight conversion

By Steve Bruinsma, Holland BPW
Ahh, with the winter solstice yesterday, it’s uplifting to have turned the corner on darkness. As the amount of daylight gradually increases each day, the time the streetlights are on gets shorter.

I bet you don’t think about it in quite those terms, as I do. You see, the Holland Board of Public Works electric crews and I are responsible for maintaining the street and pedestrian lights in the Holland area, as well as traffic signals at 100 intersections.
One might think it is expensive to operate all of those lights and signals. It is, but far less so for Holland. First and foremost, the investment in streetlights and traffic signals is for public safety.
Additionally, our city leaders have invested in better quality light output and energy efficiency by converting to light emitting diode (LED) technology. The typical LED streetlight is three times more
energy efficient than the orange-hued, high-pressure sodium light it replaced. LED streetlights provide better visibility and significant cost savings for the community. The cost savings come in the forms of less energy consumption and reduced maintenance.
Holland has been a leader in converting its public lighting to LED. It began in 2010 and was substantially completed by 2016. We have some small developments, associations, and private lots that we are working on today and plan to complete in the next three years.
The conversion was spurred by Holland’s commitment to be a world-class energy efficient city as detailed in the Community Energy Plan. Lowering energy consumption saves money, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and improves our carbon footprint per capita, a key metric in the plan. That means cleaner air to breathe and improved quality of life. The Community Energy Plan also helps to ensure our community’s economic competitiveness.
Are all of the lights in your home, indoors and out, converted to LED? If not, the Holland BPW encourages you to do so by offering a $3 rebate on Energy Star-certified LED light bulbs and a $5 rebate on Energy Star-certified LED flood lights and can or recessed lighting conversion kits. The rebate reimburses you for nearly the full, or sometimes the entire, cost of the bulb. To apply for a rebate, go to and click on the Ways To Save tab.

Enjoy the days getting longer!

Do you want to try an LED light bulb for free? Stop by the HBPW Service Center at 625 Hastings Ave. on Jan. 31, Feb. 7, Feb. 14, and Feb. 21, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. In the LED light bulb giveaway blitz on those days, you will have your choice of two 60 watt-equivalents or one indoor/outdoor flood light.

By the Numbers:
Holland Conversion to LED lights
 All traffic signals in 100 intersections
 3,600 streetlights (550 remain)
 600 decorative pedestrian lights (200 remain)
 The remaining 750 lights will be converted over the next three years

 Steve Bruinsma is electric distribution superintendent at Holland Board of Public Works. He oversees the safe and reliable delivery of power to Holland area homes, businesses, streetlights, and traffic signals.

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Smart Energy: We need to use both conservation and efficiency measures to manage our resources to provide access to reliable and cost-effective energy.

Living Sustainably is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives. It is presented by the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a joint project of Hope College, the City of Holland and Holland Board of Public Works. Go to for more information.

Dimmable LED lights in Centennial Park provide better lighting and are projected to
save $2,800 in yearly electricity costs, using 70 percent less energy, and last four to five times longer than old halide lights.
LED street and park lights around Holland offer better lighting and use about one-third the energy, while lasting longer than old high-pressure sodium lights.Holland has changed out 3,600 street lights in recent years to LED bulbs that provide better lighting at lower long-term cost.