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Project Announced To Improve Highway Lighting
December 23, 2019

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has announced that it will contract with Trane, a manufacturer of heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems and building management systems and controls, to replace more than 9,600 highway lights with light-emitting diode (LED) products, improving roadway visibility and energy efficiency.

The lighting upgrade will reduce highway lights’ energy consumption by more than 50 percent and triple the expected lifetime from five years to 15 or more years. This project is aligned with the clean energy goals that Governor Ralph S. Northam laid out in his 2018 Virginia Energy Plan and in Executive Order Forty-Three which he signed in September.

Key improvements of the lighting modernization project include:
• Consuming 11 million fewer kilowatt-hours per year following replacement, resulting in an estimated 8,800-ton reduction in greenhouse gas emissions,
• Improving drivers’ ability to see objects at night, such as pedestrians, animals, and debris,
• Reducing crash risks as fewer light replacements mean fewer roadway work zones, and
• Saving taxpayer dollars through energy efficiency and longer product life.

“This lighting modernization project will reduce energy use and increase road safety,” said Governor Northam. “It’s an important step forward as we work to make Virginia a leader in clean energy, and I commend VDOT and Trane on their work to improve our roadways, our communities, and our environment.”

“Trane has completed over $280 million in performance contracting, and successfully implemented projects for many Commonwealth of Virginia agencies,” said Larry Cummings, Marketing Leader and Strategic Partnerships at Trane. “We are proud to collaborate with VDOT to enhance the lighting levels on Virginia’s roads to improve safety and energy use.”

The lighting project is expected to result in savings for the Commonwealth starting on day one, with a cumulative net savings of $4.6 million by 2036. The savings stems from lower energy bills and reduced operations and maintenance costs for future light replacement. VDOT selected LED lights to optimize road user visibility and minimize environmental impacts.

VDOT is funding the lighting upgrade project using the Virginia Energy Management Program’s energy performance contract option, which allows VDOT to finance infrastructure improvements using future energy and operational savings. VDOT partnered with Trane following a competitive procurement process.

Light replacement will start in spring 2020. This project includes lights located on limited-access highways and associated interchanges, as well as VDOT-owned park-and-ride lots, rest areas, and weigh stations in the Richmond, Fredericksburg, Hampton Roads, and Northern Virginia districts.

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