Thanks to Empire District Electric Co., the streets of the Ozarks have gotten just a little bit brighter and a little more eco-friendly than before, after the company installed an LED streetlight “pilot program” to assess how beneficial the lights would be.
Eight LED streetlights have been placed on Roark Valley Road, between Forsythe Blvd. and Truman Drive. The lights will reportedly stay in that location for the next two years while Empire District Electric monitors how well the lights serve the community in terms of energy use, financial savings, and maintenance.
In addition to the eight lights placed on Roark Valley Road in Branson, the company is also extending its pilot program to include LED streetlights in Neosho, Webb City, Ozark, and Republic.
LED (short for Light Emitting Diode) lights aren’t exactly new in terms of energy-efficient technology, but more communities, businesses, and homeowners have begun seeing that LED lights pay off in the long run. According to Empire District Electric, the lights will save about 60% on energy costs.
Although the initial cost of installing the lights is more expensive than that of installing traditional streetlights, Empire District Electric notes that these LED lights are likely to last about 20 years before needing to be replaced (whereas the current streetlight bulbs need to be replaced ever four years), and also that the new lights will make the streets brighter at night.
Compared to the yellowish color of traditional streetlights, LED lights produce more white light, that looks clearer and more closely resembles natural sunlight. Not only will these lights certainly decrease the number of pedestrian injuries, but they’ll provide a safer environment for drivers — and with the average new car costing about $31,000 these days, a decreased number of serious car accidents will certainly benefit Ozarks residents financially, too.
The current LED lights will remain in their locations for the next two years, after which the communities will decide whether or not to install additional lights throughout the region.