Tauranga City Council says it is making good progress with the street light replacement programme.

In March this year the council started replacing about 7000 street lights in residential areas with light-emitting diodes (LED).

First to be replaced were Matua, Bellevue, Brookfield, Judea, Ōtumoetai and Bethlehem.

On Monday, the 1000th LED light was installed in Bethlehem.


The rest of the Tauranga residential areas will follow in the coming months with the programme expected to be complete by early 2020.

"We have clear direction from our Council to convert our streetlights to LED and this milestone is a good opportunity to share with our community what they can expect of this project. There is no doubt that the switch to LED is a necessary one. However, besides a long list of advantages, there is also one disadvantage that we want to inform people about to avoid surprises," acting general manager Infrastructure Martin Parkes said.

While most of Tauranga's street lights were quite standard, some of the streets had decorative poles with different types of fixtures that could not easily be retrofitted to fit an LED bulb into.

"We will have to make some alterations to those poles which may change the look of the streetlights. For example, some ornamental luminaires will be replaced with a standard LED fitting and light. This is a compromise to ensure those streets also get the benefits of LED lighting."

Parkes said lighting on the council's streets currently represented about a quarter of all of the council's overall energy use.

"The LED rollout is expected to save almost 2 GWh of energy per year, making a significant reduction to our overall 27 GWh consumption. It will also help to save 250 tonnes of CO2 every year."

The upgrade to LED is co-funded by the NZ Transport Agency with the NZ Transport Agency paying for 85 per cent of the project cost. This project has an overall 10-year return on investment, taking energy and maintenance into account.