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Sat, May 30

Williams to see new LED street lights downtown beginning in March

A city maintenance crew installs decorative lights on the east gateway arch in Williams Feb. 27. City crews will be replacing all of the city street lights with LEDs in March. (Wendy Howell/WGCN)

A city maintenance crew installs decorative lights on the east gateway arch in Williams Feb. 27. City crews will be replacing all of the city street lights with LEDs in March. (Wendy Howell/WGCN)

WILLIAMS, Ariz. — The city of Williams will soon begin converting downtown public street lights to LED light bulbs.

The change will begin in March for approximately 380 lights on all the major streets in Williams. It should take about four weeks to complete.

According to Williams Chief Building Inspector Tim Pettit, the city street lights are currently either a high-pressure sodium (HPS) or low-pressure sodium (LPS) light, which produces a warm yellow glow.

“This type of light is no longer being manufactured,” Pettit said. “It’s time to make way for LED technology with a catch: It has limited dark sky options.”

Over the past few months, the city has set up test lights to analyze the best option to satisfy the dark sky community and meet safety requirements, Pettit said.

LED is measured in Kelvin’s; with the lower end of the chart being 1000k, a warm color between red and amber.

“This temperature of light is much darker than our current lighting and safety becomes an issue,” he said. “In addition, at temperatures below 2500k you start to see operation cost increase, this cost is well below our current operational cost but you don’t get the full cost saving that LED offers.”

Pettit said at the upper end of the Kelvin chart are the cooler colors that produce a blue light.

“This is a brighter intrusive light that projects a lot of glare,” he said. “At 4000k the light starts to create a sky glow that destroys dark sky and astronomy observations.”

Pettit said the city of Williams has decided to take the middle of the road, as Tucson has, with a 3000k light with different wattages. The 3000K will be a whiter light, which will increase lumen count but the reduced wattage will lower the lumens.

“This will be a wash and the sky glow will remain about the same,” he said.

Residential, commercial lighting

Some jurisdictions have started requiring a building permit for residential change of exterior lighting, even if it is just a bulb, however, the city of Williams does not require residents obtain permits.

“But we have ordinances that will protect you from nuisance lighting,” Pettit said.

Pettit reminds residents who install LED bulbs that the light appears much brighter than the older incandescent lighting.

“Just remember when you install new exterior lighting the light must be fully shielded within the fixture; meaning you should not see the source (bulb, diode, etc.) from off your property,” he said. “Always remember to be respectful of your neighbors; too much lighting is a nuisance.”

He added that if residents feel the need for a floodlight or projecting light for safety or security, it must be on a motion sensor set at five minute maximum at a time.

Commercial buildings and properties are required to have a permit if they want to change or add exterior lighting. Commercial properties are only allowed a set amount of lumen output per property size.

“You will need to submit specifications and a plan showing type of lighting and locations,” he said.

Any questions about the new street lighting or exterior lighting requirements contact Tim Pettit at tpettit@williamsaz.gov.

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