Friday, August 19, 2011
By Jace Shoemaker-... on April 7, 2010
A quaint community outside of Chicago is lighting the way when it comes to hybrid street lights.
Using a combination of solar, wind and battery power, the Prentiss Creek Subdivision in Downers Grove is the first residential subdivision in the United States with hybrid street lights.
In 2008, the Prentiss Creek Homeowner’s Association (HOA) requested street lights for its unlit neighborhood. While various types of street lights were considered, it was determined hybrid lights, manufactured by Ohio-based King Luminaire Co., were the best fit for the neighborhood.
The Prentiss Creek Hybrid Street Light Project includes 25 energy-efficient street lights comprised of wind turbines, solar panels and LED lights. The system uses no electricity from the grid. The super quiet vertical-axis turbines work in both low and high winds.
Snow and ice slides right off the turbines and the turbines do not harm birds. The sealed batteries located at the base of the pole, store up to three days worth of electricity and are good for about 10 years. And a special coating on the traditional-style concrete post is graffiti-proof.
The self-contained hybrid system is designed to last for up to 100,000 hours, compared to conventional lighting systems that need to be replaced after 10,000 hours. And according to the Trib Local, when compared to traditional street lights, it is estimated the hybrid system will save 500,000 kilowatts of electricity and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 350 tons over a 30-year period.