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A brighter idea that saves money

November 12, 2018

Original article can be found at this address.

Augusta officials are planning to take control of their streetlights.

ROCHESTER — As part of its work to help customers better manage their energy, an Eversource partnership with the Rochester School District is nearing completion of a district-wide effort to upgrade more than 5,700 lighting fixtures — all assembled by U.S. Veterans with Affinity LED Lighting.

The conversion to LED lighting will save the school district about $72,000 a year and reduce annual carbon emissions by 309 tons, the equivalent of taking 70 cars off the road each year. The upgrades are part of the Rochester School District’s ongoing efforts to create a learning environment that is modern, comfortable and energy efficient, said a spokesman.

“This project is just one of the many ways we are connecting municipalities and schools in New Hampshire to solutions for savings,” said Eversource NH Energy Efficiency spokesperson Kate Peters. “By helping our customers to integrate new technologies that deliver significant energy savings, we are helping our customers to reduce their costs and to be better environmental stewards.”

The district-wide lighting system installation will be completed in early 2019. The new units require less maintenance, use up to 75 percent less electricity and are controlled through an application that takes advantage of available daylight and occupancy to offset the amount of electric lighting needed.

A recent tour of the upgrades at Spaulding High School included a lighting assembly demonstration with Affinity LED Lighting’s Founder and CEO Steve Lieber, project manager Dana Caruso and Senior Technician Mike Snay, a U.S. Navy veteran. The demo highlighted innovative, reusable packing that contributes to the overall sustainability of the project.

“These changes will have a lasting, tangible impact and help us reduce our carbon footprint and move toward increased sustainability in all our schools,” said Rochester School District Superintendent Michael Hopkins. “Energy efficiency is vital to keeping costs down and freeing up capital, which allows us to reinvest in programs that directly benefit our students.”

Rochester schools upgrade 6,000 light fixtures to LED

November 11, 2018

Original article can be found at this address.

ROCHESTER — The Rochester School District is upgrading close to 6,000 lighting fixtures as it converts to LED lighting.

Director of Facilities David Totty said the move will save the district about $120,000 a year in electricity bills and dramatically reduce carbon emissions.

“It’s like we retired 112 gas burning vehicles from the roadways,” Totty said of the emissions decrease associated with using less electricity.

Totty said he has been working to get the district to make the switch for years and now the price of LED technology makes both environmental and economic sense.

Installing LED lighting means the district will no longer be using fluorescent bulbs. Totty calls fluorescent bulbs an “environmental nightmare” because they contain mercury.

“Getting rid of the mercury is another great benefit to LED lighting,” Totty said.

The switch will cost $1.1 million, which is offset by a rebate program from Eversource in the amount of $400,000. All the lighting fixtures are being assembled by U.S. military veterans who work for Affinity LED Lighting in Dover.

Mark Toussaint, an energy efficiency consultant at Eversource, said they have done numerous LED conversions throughout the state for homeowners, businesses and municipalities.

Rochester has also retro-fitted municipally owned streetlights using the NHSaves rebate program which is run by Eversource, Liberty Utilities, New Hampshire Electric Co-op and Unitil, Toussaint said.

“We’re hoping to help customers do the things they need to do with only the amount of power they need to consume,” Toussaint said.

The lighting conversion at Spaulding High School is nearly complete, and crews were replacing an average of 230 bulbs a night at Rochester Middle School last week.

All buildings affected by the conversion should be finished in early 2019.

Augusta weighs pulling plug on CMP streetlight leases, buying into LED technology for savings

November 9, 2018

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Augusta officials are planning to take control of their streetlights.

They plan to buy the nearly 2,000 streetlights from Central Maine Power and convert them to more efficient LED lights. The move could save the city $168,000 to $300,000 a year.

Augusta, like many Maine municipalities, currently leases the lights along its city streets from CMP.

Ralph St. Pierre, finance director and assistant city manager, said the proposal would save both money and electricity. He projects it would save about $168,000 a year for 10 years and then, after the new lights and fixtures have been paid for, would save $306,000 a year for as long as the lights last. The LED lights have a projected lifespan of about 28 years.

The city’s energy consumption also would drop with the lights, according to St. Pierre; LED lights will save about two-thirds of the energy now used by the existing lights, which he said are mainly older, high-pressure sodium lights.

“It’s a great project from a sustainability standpoint. It’s a great project from a financing standpoint,” St. Pierre said.

The city would undertake a lease-purchase deal to buy the streetlights from CMP, over 10 years at a cost of $138,000 a year.

Augusta pays CMP $223,000 annually to lease the lights, and $39,000 in service delivery fees.

The city would be projected to use 675,000 fewer kilowatt hours of electricity, which would save another $44,000.

“It’s very encouraging news as far as the potential budget impact, and the environmental impact that this could have,” City Manager William Bridgeo told city councilors, who were briefed about the proposal Thursday.

Councilors eventually would need to sign off on the lease-purchase agreement for the deal to move forward. Some of them are already on board with the idea.

“I think it’s awesome,” said At-large Councilor Corey Wilson. “Every time I drive by those giant, ridiculous looking expensive old lights, I think how stupid that is. We talk about energy-efficient everything in people’s homes, and then we’ve got these lights across this whole state, just sucking the power right dry.”

St. Pierre said the city of Portland this summer became the first municipality in the state to buy its streetlights and convert them to LED lights.

He said the move is possible because of state legislation and Public Utilities Commission rules changes passed around 2016, thanks in large part to the advocacy of Nathan Poore, town manager in Falmouth, and Greg L’Heureux, finance director for South Portland.

Before the change, St. Pierre said, CMP was under no obligation to sell its streetlights to municipalities. The state law change required CMP to sell streetlights to municipalities where they are located for the net book value of the fixtures. Augusta’s fixtures, many of which were put in around 50 years ago, have depreciated in value. St. Pierre said the city’s cost to buy them will be about $206,000.

He said there is enough money in the streetlights account now to pay for them, and the projected annual savings will begin next year.

Bridgeo said the $168,000 the city expects to save for the first 10 years is the equivalent of about a half of 1 percent decrease in the property tax rate. The savings theoretically could result in a tax decrease — but could also be eaten up by increasing costs for other budgeted items.

Bridgeo reassured councilors Thursday the plan will not increase property taxes.

CMP officials could not be reached for comment Friday. The company’s previous public relations department phone number has been disconnected. Calls to it’s corporate parent company, Avangrid, were not returned.

Bridgeo said there is no connection between the city’s plan to ditch its leases for streetlights with CMP and previous flaps between the city and CMP, over excise taxes and the awarding of city contracts to Maine Natural Gas, a subsidiary of then-CMP parent company Iberdrola USA.

Augusta councilors asked if the city, before buying the lights, would have an inventory done to ensure they all actually exist.

This year the town of Fairfield, after a town-initiated inventory of its streetlights, discovered the town had been paying several thousand dollars for streetlights that no longer existed or worked.

In recent years Augusta, as part of energy efficiency upgrades, has converted multiple city buildings to LED technology.

The city received four bids from companies to supply the new lighting fixtures to be installed throughout the city. It selected the low bidder, Affinity LED Lighting, of Dover, New Hampshire.

Steve Lieber, founder and owner of the company, said all members of its crew of assembly technicians are U.S. military veterans.

The firm, according to St. Pierre, would contract with Coutts Brothers, an electrical contractor in Randolph, to install the new lights.

Lieber said the new lights are designed to limit greatly the amount of light escaping up into the sky. He said the so-called dark sky compliant technology they use, residents of communities where they have been installed have said, so reduced the amount of man-made light escaping into the sky they could see stars they couldn’t see before.

“The most visible experience with dark-sky compliant streetlights that you’re going to see is the stars are going to come back,” Lieber said. “There’s a significant amount (of light now pointing up from older streetlights) generated by 2,000 streetlights that you have in the city. A significant amount of that will go away.”

Bob LaBreck, facilities manager for the city, toured Affinity’s plant with other officials and said he was “blown away with how they’re putting their product together.”

“Everything but one item they use is made in America. This is an impressive product,” he said. “We’re going to have an impressive city when we’re done.”

North Hampton, NH Considers LED Streetlights

May 3, 2018

Original article can be found at this address.

Town considers move to LED street lighting

NORTH HAMPTON — The Select Board plans to ask the Energy Committee to review a new proposal to convert the town’s streetlights to energy-efficient LED streetlights.

The main advantage of adopting LED streetlights are the financial savings due to energy conservation, up to $180,446 in 20 years according to the proposal.

The idea of finding taxpayer savings in streetlights was visited several years ago in an audit by the town’s Energy Committee, but resulted in no conclusive action.

“This sounds like something that would be suited for their review,” said Selectmen Chairman Jim Maggiore, “perhaps that would be the next best step.”

Initiating the presentation to the board was John Hubbard, director of Public Works, who was joined by Steve Lieber and John Branagan of Affinity Lighting from Dover.

North Hampton currently has approximately 137 streetlights which could be converted to LED in a two- to three-day time frame.

According to information in the proposal by Affinity, if all streetlights were converted to LED the total cost for the town would be $33,000. A move to LED would bring an incentive from Eversource of $13,700, dropping the net cost of a full town-wide conversion to $19,300.

When the initial annual energy savings of approximately $9,000 are factored in, the final cost to convert all streetlights to LED would be just over $10,000.

Moving forward, the town would realize an annual savings of 45 percent from the present energy costs of $20,000, and future annual savings of approximately $9,000 a year.

“Financially I think it’s a no-brainer,” said Hubbard. “It’s a proposal to think about if we get to the end of the year with some money to use, or in a warrant article for next year.”

Other features of the LED lights are they would be dark sky compliant and come with a 10-year warranty. The LED lights have been made by Affinity in Dover since 2016.

“Across every single community that we have installed the product from a component perspective – we haven’t had a single failure out there,” said Lieber from Affinity, who promised close to 20 maintenance-free years for any new lights.

If completed North Hampton would join 30 other towns across New Hampshire who have completed the conversion including neighboring Hampton, Portsmouth and Greenland.

Affinity LED Asked to Speak at NH Energy Week

April 5, 2018

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NH Energy Week to tout cleaner solutions

Keene’s Filtrine Manufacturing Co. spent more than $300,000 last year to install a wood-chip boiler that will reduce its oil consumption by 90 percent to heat its 100,000-square-foot building.

The new boiler will pay for itself in six to seven years, thanks partly with help from a state grant.

“It’s not so much as a cost savings,” co-owner Peter Hansel said Friday. “We wanted to invest in something that did not involve fossil fuels.”

Hansel will speak Monday about his company’s energy improvements as part of NH Energy Week. Events will bring together policymakers, businesses and energy advocates to discuss how clean energy programs can build the local economy.

Gov. Chris Sununu will headline a breakfast Thursday.

More than 60 Granite State businesses, including Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Northern New England, Velcro and Autodesk, have signed on to a set of “clean energy principles” urging clean energy proposals.

“New Hampshire businesses are telling policymakers about the value of clean energy for their businesses,” said Michelle Veasey, executive director of New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility.

On Monday, an energy round table is slated at Scores Sports Bar & Grille in Keene from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., when Hansel will speak.

On Wednesday, another round table is set for The Seventh Settlement Brewery in Dover from 4:30 to 6 p.m. and will include representatives from Affinity LED Lighting.

On Thursday, the governor will speak at an 8 a.m. breakfast at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord followed by panel discussions on energy investment/infrastructure opportunities for New Hampshire, as well as workforce development opportunities in the clean-tech sector.

Filtrine, which employs about 90 people in Keene, provides custom engineering solutions for drinking water, purification and process chilling applications.

Nine years ago, the company received the city’s Green Business of the Year award.

The company previously replaced light fixtures throughout the building and put in some additional insulation on the roof.

Another project was installing a solar hot water heater to help defray some of the costs to heat water in our test area to test chillers, Hansel said.

For more information on NH Energy Week, click here.

Somersworth, NH invests in LED streetlights with grant funds

January 9, 2018

Original article can be found at this address.

Thanks a million! Somersworth makes most of grants

By Judi Currie
[email protected]

SOMERSWORTH — More than a million dollars in grant funds have come to the city of Somersworth over the past year thanks to the efforts of staff and department heads.

According to City Manager Bob Belmore, all of the grants involve some level of writing, coordination, and implementation, but is time well spent.

In a report to the Somersworth City Council in December, Belmore said the totals reflect the past 12 months or so of “our City staff working to pursue grant funds for infrastructure improvements and to assist in a more efficient and effective delivery of municipal services to our community.”

Belmore said the grant funds awarded total more than $1.1 million and there is more where that came from, as the pending grant funding applications total approximately $1.1 million as well.

According to Police Chief David Kretschmar, his department was awarded Justice Assistance Grants (JAG) for approximately $15,000 in 2015, 2016 and 2017, rounds. He said the department purchased laser training caps, a duty weapon and software upgrades to network servers, cruiser modems and replaced patrol rifles.

Somersworth Police also received grants for DWI Enforcement efforts, Operation Safe Commute and Seat Belt Enforcement Patrols, and Distracted Driving Patrols.

According to Fire Chief Keith Hoyle, his department received a SAFER Act grant for from FEMA for $99,068 and added 10 new call firefighters. It included the cost of their medical exams, protective gear, uniforms and some training.

Another FEMA grant, called FIRE Act is for $250,000 to replace the nearly 30-year-old SCBA refill van used for the Community Mutual Aid Association. The new vehicle will be a first-in-the-nation combination of SCBA refill and firefighter rehabilitation unit.

A grant for active shooter equipment from NH Homeland Security will provide up to $6,000 for equipment to protect firefighters accompanying police officers into warm zones for active shooter situations. Firefighters’s role in active shooter events is to accompany police and EMS into the “warm zone” to remove possible victims after police have confronted the shooter.

Mike Bobinsky, director of public works and utilities, identified seven grants covering projects including LED lighting, sidewalks and preservation of the city’s historic treasures.

A Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) grant is for $699,000 with a local share of $139,800 and involves the replacing and upgrading of traffic control equipment at all signalized intersections along the High Street Corridor from West High Street to the Dover Weeks Crossing. It also includes new equipment to interface with the City of Dover Central Avenue/Weeks Crossing Intersection for improved synchronization and traffic flow through the High Street corridor.

A grant for Drinking Water Interconnection with the City of Dover for $1,300,000, involves the engineering and construction of a new water main to connect the two cities. A new pump station will allow water to be transferred to either Somersworth or to Dover in the event either community faces a water quality emergency.

Another project involves the replacement of approximately 750 city streetlights with new LED light fixtures. The city entered into a contract with Affinity LED for the replacement work. Return on the city’s investment after receiving the Eversource Incentive funds will be paid back after two years.

At the historic Forest Glade Cemetery off Maple Street, a Moose Plate grant of $10,000 will result in replacing panels and restoring the granite pillars that form the formal entrance to the cemetery.

A grant funded by the NH Land and Community Heritage Investment Program (LCHIP) will pay for conducting a structural assessment of the Furber Chapel at Forest Glade Cemetery.

A Transportation Alternatives Program-TAP Grant for $789,200 involves constructing new sidewalks on High Street, upgrading crosswalk access on High Street, constructing a sidewalk on Memorial Drive and Cemetery Road and constructing a multi-use path between the elementary school and middle school.

Shanna Saunders, director of community development, was involved in the TAP and CMAQ grants alongside public works. She also listed a Land and Water Conservation Fund grant for $45,000 for upgrading the Jules Bisson playground and park including a new play structure, ADA upgrades and possibly new parking.

In addition to the proposals put together by police, fire, public works and development, the city completed work on a $500,000 CDBG award to the Somersworth Housing Authority, $60,000 for the Eddy Bridge rehabilitation project, as well as $187,000 NH DES Brownfields Grant awarded for the former Breton’s Cleaners cleanup project.

Dark For 5 Years, State Bridge Getting a New Set of Lights

October 11, 2017

Original article can be found at this address.

Dark For 5 Years, State Bridge Getting a New Set of Lights

A state-owned bridge in New Hampshire is getting a new set of lights, five years after going dark.

The Scammell Bridge carries Route 4 traffic over the Bellamy River. It spans Dover and Durham.

The state had paid about $7,000 a year to light the span, but that responsibility eventually fell to Durham and Dover, where residents opposed the idea.

A Dover business, Affinity LED Lighting bought and installed 51 lights on the bridge and another, brighter light in the parking lot on the Durham side.

The LED lights currently on the bridge will use about 85 percent less electricity than the previous lights. Annual electricity costs will likely be less than $2,000 a year.

The lighting is scheduled for Wednesday night.

LED lights relight Scammell Bridge

October 11, 2017

Original article can be found at this address.

LED lights relight Scammell Bridge

By Brian Early
[email protected]

DURHAM — The streetlights shine again on the Alexander Scammell Bridge over the Bellamy River.

Five years after the New Hampshire Department of Transportation shut off the lights that illuminated the bridge that connects Dover and Durham, the lights were turned back on just before 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in front of a group of local and state dignitaries who gathered by the Durham side of the bridge.

Those included Gov. Chris Sununu, DOT Commissioner Victoria Sheehan, Sen. David Watters and Portsmouth businesswoman Renee Plummer who led a campaign to turn the lights back on. Plummer handed out bumper stickers she had made earlier this year in efforts to generate interest in the relighting campaign.

Since the lights were shut off in 2012, Durham and Dover’s municipal officials had unsuccessfully lobbied the DOT, which owns the bridge and lights, to turn them back on and pay for the electricity. A deal wasn’t reached until Dover-based Affinity LED Lighting agreed to — at its own cost — retrofit the 150-watt high-pressure sodium lamps out of the old fixtures with 27-watt LED lights and pay for, at least initially, the electricity to light the bridge.

The LED lights, using 82 percent less electricity, will cost less than $2,000 a year, Durham Town Administrator Todd Selig estimated. DOT spokesman Bill Boynton told Foster’s earlier this year it cost the state about $7,000 per year to light the bridge with the old lights.

Boynton said the decision to shut off the lights in 2012 followed a 50 percent cut in the agency’s utility budget as well as new internal criteria for streetlight use. In 2012, the DOT operated 2,661 lights around the state, but 661 have since been eliminated, saving about $280,000 a year. More lights are slated for removal to cut its electrical bills further, he said.

Steve Lieber of Affinity LED Lighting said the firm is working with many municipalities in the state, including Dover, to replace streetlights with energy efficient LED lights. Military veterans employed by the company assemble the LED lights in Dover, he said.

The bridge is named for Alexander Scammell, who commanded the 3rd New Hampshire Regiment during the Revolutionary War and later led a unit called Scammell’s Light Infantry. Scammell, who earned the ranks of colonel and adjutant general, was wounded in September 1781 near Yorktown, Virginia, in the war’s last major battle and died a week later. He’s known as Durham’s adopted son.

Plummer said that part of her goal in getting the lights to be turned on was to honor the general. Her bumper sticker said, “Turn on the lights! Make General Alexander Scammell Proud.”

After a short presentation of speakers, John Branagan of Affinity LED Lighting, sent a text to workers on either side of the bridge to flip the switch. About 10 seconds later, the lights turned on to cheers.

Lights to shine on Scammell Bridge in Dover, Durham

October 6, 2017

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Lights to shine on Scammell Bridge in Dover, Durham

DURHAM — The decorative lights lining Scammell Bridge connecting Dover and Durham over the Bellamy River will be illuminated again with a relighting ceremony Wednesday.

The ceremony is set for Oct. 11, at 6 p.m. on the Durham side of the bridge, according to Durham Town Administrator Todd Selig. Sunset will be at 6:07 p.m., he said. Attendees should plan to arrive at 5:30 p.m. Parking is available in the parking lot on the Durham side of the bridge.

The ceremony will take place along the northwestern sidewalk. Durham police will have officers on hand to ensure the safe crossing of the roadway by attendees. Durham Parks & Recreation will set up a mobile P.A. system for dignitaries to provide brief remarks.

The lighting is thanks in large part to Affinity LED Lighting of Dover, which covered much of the cost, Selig said. Affinity, located in the One Washington Mill in Dover, paid for the high-efficiency lights and installation. At least initially, the company also will pay for electricity to light the bridge.

DOT shut off 52 lights on and around the bridge in 2012 in a statewide effort to reduce its streetlights and comply with new departmental criteria for operating them. At least 661 lights have shut off state-wide since then and more than 1,000 more are slated for removal across New Hampshire.

Durham and Dover officials have worked with DOT officials to turn the lights back on, pointing to aesthetic and safety concerns for pedestrians using the bridge for a variety of recreational purposes, Selig said.

Portsmouth businesswoman Renee Plummer also advocated for the lights to come back on. Earlier this year, she printed bumper stickers making the case for relighting the bridge.

The state lets communities affected by streetlight removal pay to operate the lights if they choose, although that idea faced opposition in Durham and Dover, whose taxpayers would have had to cover the bill for electricity. The state previously paid about $7,000 a year to light the span, Selig said.

Affinity LED Lighting stepped forward early this year. The company bought and installed 51 lights on the bridge and another, brighter light in the parking lot on the Durham side. The project took 150-watt high-pressure sodium lamps out of the old fixtures and retrofitted them with 27-watt LED lights using a 3,000K color temp. Affinity reports this is the perfect lighting for the pedestrian walkway, Selig said.

LED lights on the bridge will use about 85 percent less electricity than the previous lights with annual electricity costs to likely be less than $2,000 a year.

Durham, Affinity, DOT and Dover are finalizing the agreement for relighting the span. Eversource was also an integral partner. Multiple tests on the bridge have been successful confirming the existing lighting infrastructure was sound, Selig said.

The Scammell Bridge is named for Alexander Scammell, who commanded the 3rd New Hampshire Regiment during the Revolutionary War and later led a unit called Scammell’s Light Infantry. Scammell, who earned the ranks of colonel and adjutant general, was wounded in September 1781 near Yorktown, Virginia, and died a week later.

Keene, NH begins project to install energy-efficient streetlights

September 9, 2017

Original article can be found at this address.

Keene begins project to install energy-efficient streetlights

Keene officials have begun a project to replace more than 1,000 streetlights throughout the city with more energy-efficient bulbs.

Starting Tuesday, Affinity LED was scheduled to start converting 1,155 high-pressure sodium streetlights to LEDs, according to a news release from the city’s public works department. The project is expected to be nearly complete by the end of October, the release says.

The total cost of the project is estimated at $261,982, Duncan Watson, assistant public works director, said Wednesday. Eversource gave Keene a $100,000 rebate to help fund the conversion, and the energy savings the city sees once the new bulbs are installed is expected to pay back the remaining cost of installation in less than three years, according to the public works department.

The new streetlights, once up and running, are expected to save the city more than $1.5 million in energy costs over 20 years and reduce carbon emissions by more than 3,000 tons during the same time frame, the release says.

LED lights offer better light for visibility and safety at a lower cost than high-pressure sodium bulbs, according to the release. City officials plan to post a link on the public works department’s Facebook page for people to track the progress of the LED installation.

Highway officials say anyone with questions should call the public works department at 352-6550.

Dover business supplies lights, labor for Scammell Bridge

September 8, 2017

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Dover business supplies lights, labor for Scammell Bridge

By Casey Conley [email protected]

DURHAM — Decorative lights lining the Scammell Bridge could soon be illuminated again — thanks largely to a Dover business that covered much of the cost.

Affinity LED Lighting, located in the One Washington mill, paid for the high-efficiency lights and installation costs. At least initially, the company also will pay for electricity to light the bridge.

“It’s a way to give back, but it’s also a way to give back in our own speciality,” John Branagan, who handles business development for Affinity LED, said this week.

Branagan is confident the bridge will be relit this fall. If that happens, it will end five years of darkness on the state-owned bridge, which carries Route 4 traffic over the Bellamy River. Most of the span lies within Dover, although its western terminus falls just inside Durham town limits.

The state DOT shut off 51 lights on and around the bridge in 2012 in a statewide effort to reduce its streetlights and comply with new departmental criteria for operating them. At least 661 lights have shut off since then, and more than 1,000 more are slated for removal.

Officials in Durham and Dover have lobbied to turn the lights back on, citing safety issues for pedestrians. Renee Plummer, a Portsmouth businesswoman, also has pushed for the lights to come back on. Earlier this year, she printed bumper stickers making the case for relighting the bridge.

The state lets communities affected by streetlight removal pay to operate the lights if they choose, although that idea faced opposition in Durham and Dover, whose taxpayers would have to foot the bill for electricity. Previously, the state paid about $7,000 a year to light the span.

Enter Affinity LED Lighting, which stepped forward in recent weeks. The company has already bought and installed 50 lights on the bridge and another, brighter light in a parking lot on the Durham side.

The LED lights currently on the bridge will use about 85 percent less electricity than the previous lights, which will translate into similar savings in electricity. Annual electricity costs will likely be less than $2,000 a year with the new bulbs, which also last longer than older lighting technology.

The company hasn’t yet tallied its costs associated with the project, but Branagan said that’s not its focus right now.

“We don’t really look at those numbers. Certainly there is a cost but there is also a value. Fortunately, we have gotten a lot of business on the Seacoast and it made sense for us to give back,” he said.

For now, Affinity, the state DOT and Dover and Durham are working to finalize an agreement for relighting the span. Multiple tests on the bridge have been successful, including one Thursday night, confirming the existing lighting infrastructure is sound.

Durham Town Administrator Todd Selig, who has worked behind the scenes to broker the agreement, praised Affinity for stepping forward to donate the lights and cover the power costs.

Selig confirmed there will be no cost to Durham residents.

“We put our minds together and thought outside the box and came up with a really nice public-private partnership,” he said. “You don’t see that very often.”

A spokesman for N.H. DOT referred questions about the project to the towns.

The Scammell Bridge is named for Alexander Scammell, who commanded the 3rd New Hampshire Regiment during the Revolutionary War and later led a unit called Scammell’s Light Infantry. Scammell, who earned the ranks of colonel and adjutant general, was wounded in September 1781 near Yorktown, Va., and died a week later.

Portsmouth LED Streetlight Project 95 Percent Complete

September 8, 2017

Original article can be found at this address.

PORTSMOUTH LED STREET LIGHT PROJECT 95 PERCENT COMPLETE

Since April, the Department of Public Works has been working with Eversource and Affinity LED Lighting to assist in converting all of its high pressure sodium (HPS) street lights to Light Emitting Diode (LED) lights. With this citywide implementation, the City will experience further reductions in energy consumption, costs and light pollution, along with improved visibility and safety on the roads.

Currently, this project is about 95 percent complete, with the downtown area currently being addressed. Once all 1,610 streetlights have been converted to LED equipment, the City will save $120,000 in annual cost, 494,000 kWh of annual electricity consumption, and prevent over 300 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year.

While reduced energy consumption and CO2 emissions bring significant benefits, Public Works has also paid close attention to ensure the new lights comply with emerging American Medical Association (AMA) guidelines regarding best practices for LED street lighting and how to minimize potentially harmful effects. According to the AMA, LEDs that are rated above 4,000 Kelvin (K), using the temperature measurement by which light color is measured, should be avoided. The problem isn’t brightness so much as wavelength, light that appears white to the naked eye contain larger amounts of blue light. Our eyes treat “white” blue-heavy light, such as the glow of a smartphone, like the midday sun. The science is still evolving, and recent studies have postulated a link between blue light and our bodies’ responsiveness that set our daily circadian rhythm.

LED lights are typically hailed as a positive for the environment because they consume much less electricity and last much longer than high pressure sodium lights. While the AMA welcomes the reduced emissions and energy efficiency benefits of LED lights, they encourage proper attention to optimal design and engineering features to minimize potential health and environmental effects caused by too much “white” blue light. The City’s LED lights will shine at warm 3,000K, are Dark Sky compliant and will provide more accurate color rendering. By correctly reproducing the colors of objects in comparison to the light source, improved color rendering makes it easier for drivers to recognize potential road hazards, crosswalks, pedestrians, etc.

NH’s economic heat wave

June 23, 2017

Original article can be found at this address.

NH’s economic heat wave

Businesses sweat out workforce needs

If only De Desharnais, vice president of Nashua-based Bastian Building, had a few more roofers, framers and siders, she might be able to clean up the backlog of ranch homes and condos the company has under contract. “We can hardly keep up,” she said.

The demand for household solar energy is so great that Granite State Solar in Boscawen quadrupled his square-footage, and it’s ready to add on another crew too — “if only we can find the employees,” said Eric Shifflett, the company’s co-owner.

And Dennis DiPaolo, owner of Seasonal Specialty Stores in Amherst, has to turn away requests to service pools. “It’s just too difficult to get good workers. We want to do it right,” he said.

This is the way it’s been for the last year. The state’s 2.9 percent unemployment rate in May is exactly the same as it was last May, only the tight labor major has now lasted longer.

After a prolonged recession, a 3 percent unemployment seems hot. New Hampshire has been at 3 percent or lower since November 2015. That’s not just hot anymore. It’s scorching. 

“Normally, it’s a great thing to have low unemployment, but you can argue it’s a problem not to attract enough labor,” understated Annette Nielsen, an economist with the state Economic and Labor Market Information Bureau. “The for-hire signs are everywhere.”

The ripple effect of this economic heat wave can be seen all over the state’s economy.

Construction and real estate

The housing shortage is at least partly a result of a shortage of construction workers, and that’s even with a nearly 10 percent increase in the construction labor force since last year — the largest percentage growth of any labor force in New Hampshire.

There is more housing to come, but is it enough? Housing permits year to date are nearly up a fifth over last year, which was up 10 percent over the year before. Still, housing inventory has gone down, not up. 

For May, monthly supply fell by 28 percent compared to May 2016. Homes for sale were down 27 percent. New listings in May went up slightly, by 6 percent, but year to date are down 8 percent.

Demand is up, because if it isn’t prices wouldn’t have risen about 7 percent year-to-date. Yet closings are down by 5 percent year to date (4 percent from last May), even as homes are being snapped up more quickly — they are on the market for an average of 82 days (year to date) as opposed to 93 in 2016. 

In other words, even though people want housing, they are buying fewer homes because there aren’t that many available.

Yet one of the reasons we don’t have enough workers is that we don’t have enough affordable housing for them to live in.

“We have 100,000 people who need to move into our state. How can that happen if they don’t have a place to live?” said Rachel Eames, a Concord Realtor and current president of the NH Association of Realtors. “We need people who can afford to live here.”

It isn’t just a matter of labor, but materials and restrictive zoning that make it difficult to develop new housing. 

Eames calls it an “inventory crunch” — the lowest number of homes available since 2015. 

Meanwhile, you have ”young people living with grandparents, or joining with other couples, saving money for a down payment to move out.” 

As for commercial construction, you can forget it. “Even the most boring vanilla building — you can’t build it for what you can resell it for. You just can’t afford to build a new building unless you got a customer that is willing to sign,” said Chris Norwood, president of NAI Norwood Group in Nashua.

Granite State Solar did sign. The company was leasing space in Boscawen, but was forced to expand to meet demand, despite low oil prices and the state’s lukewarm encouragement of renewable energy use compared to surrounding states. That’s partially because the price of solar is also going down, but also because homeowners who can’t move tend to improve where they are today. 

Things are so busy on that quarter acre of land, that the company’s 11 vehicles “felt like they were in a traffic jam in Boston,” said DiPaolo.

So the company built on a three-acre lot a 10,000-square-foot building — solar-powered, of course — in an industrial park in Bow. Now it just needs employees. Solar markets itself as clean tech, but it is mostly a construction company, and there “are not a lot of young folks in the skilled trades.”

“We have taken out radio ads, yard signs, Monster.com,” DiPaolo said, and to retain them the company offers “paid holidays, 100 percent payment on health insurance premiums, plus help on deductibles.”

Manufacturing

But the labor pains don’t just affect the trades. This is a problem that unites nearly all employers, whether they’re looking for kitchen help or engineers. Specialized labor is particularly harder to get. 

Take Bedford-based TRM Microwave, a company that provides microwave components for defense contractors like BAE Systems. TRM feeds indirectly off the U.S. defense budget, one of the few federal departments that would not be cut in President Trump’s proposed budget.

TRM expects to increase its workforce by 25 percent, or 15 employees. Replacing administrative workforce isn’t that difficult, but finding the right kind of engineer is, said Liz Morris, the company’s marketing manager.

“I set up a friend of mine, a highly skilled engineer in radiofrequency microwave, but it wasn’t a fit because his experience was in a different frequency,” said Morris. The company is forced to lure engineers from other companies, she added, “and that could be very difficult.”

Automation has not reduced the need for employment in TRM’s case, but it may have had an effect on other employers. Otherwise, how do you explain this fact: New Hampshire exports have grown 22 percent year to date, the fifth highest growth rate in the country. That growth is even more impressive, given the fact that there was no significant falloff in 2016 or 2015, which many other states in the top ten experienced. 

Most of that increase is in manufactured goods, like electronic machinery, exports of which increased by 50 percent, the aircraft/spacecraft parts, which more than doubled, and pharmaceuticals, which increased sixfold. 

It isn’t just trade. The state’s gross domestic product grew by 3 percent in 2016, according to statistics from the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis, making it the fastest-growing economy in New England and one of the fastest-growing in the country. And in 2017, the Federal Reserve says the state’s Economic Activity Index was the highest in the region — it grew 3.4 percent year to date, compared to a U.S. growth rate of 2.9 percent.

Yet, in both April and May, the state has about the same number of manufacturing jobs it had in the same months last year. The economy is apparently producing more, with basically the same number of workers, though they are working an average of an hour more, and getting paid about 50 cents an hour more, compared to last year.

Service sector

Of course, economic activity includes more than manufacturing. In fact, the service economy is where most of the job growth is.

The leisure and hospitality sector had the biggest increase in job numbers from May 2016 to May 2017 (2,900 or more than 4 percent) — accounting for almost a third of the jobs created in New Hampshire since last year. 

“Business is very strong,” said Tom Boucher, CEO of Great American Restaurants, who added that business is up 4 percent this year and grew 3 percent last year. The company is planning to open several more restaurants, and it isn’t the only one. So many restaurants are opening in Manchester, that Boucher said he is worried about a shakeout. 

Still, he said, “people are definitely dining more frequently,” even with “a pretty tough winter, with some hefty snowstorms.” 

Ski New Hampshire, of course, welcomed the snow, which was about the same as last year, but came just at the right time. All told, there was a 29 percent increase in skier visits from last year. 

But aside from a strong Memorial Day weekend, it’s too early to tell how tourism is doing this spring. Hotel occupancy has been flat — New Hampshire is at 62.7 percent so far — only a third of a percent more than last year, and people are spending just $3 more than they did last year. But those are pre-summer figures.

Website visits for the first five months of the year are down by about 15 percent — not a good sign. But international web visits are actually up 18 percent, despite the political turmoil surrounding travel bans, laptops and terrorism. This could be bucking a national trend, but reports on foreign travel are mixed.

One study by Foursquare indicated that international tourism in the U.S. declined 11 percent in the six months following Trump’s election, while it’s up 6 percent internationally. But a U.S. Travel Association survey said that April’s figures show a 4 percent annual increase. 

Other industries

As for other service sectors, the health care and educational sector has grown by 2,400 jobs, or a 1.9 percent increase, while professional scientific and technical services gained 1,500, also a 1.9 percent increase.

Business services could include anything — large public companies, payroll management firms like Bottomline Technologies in Portsmouth to Affinity LED Lighting in Dover, which primarily helps municipalities and businesses switch over to higher-efficiency lighting.

Things are so busy that Affinity decided to manufacture its own lighting, which means adding five employees, bringing the workforce to 13. John Branagan, a lighting specialist with Affinity, said he overcame the labor shortage by niche marketing: The firm hires veterans, who make “a great workforce. They need minimum training because their professionalism is fantastic.”

Retail is another matter, however. The sector actually lost 1,100 jobs over the last year. This could be a fluke in the April and May statistics, but the trend hasn’t been good nationally for large department stores and brick-and-mortar chains.

Norwood said the commercial real estate market for big-box stores has cooled off. Indeed, his company helped transform an old Lowe’s in south Manchester into a movie theater. 

The hottest market, Norwood said, is in industrial warehouse space, with bays 24 or even 30 feet high. “We start talking about cubic storage, rather than square-footage,” particularly around the airport. A lot of this warehouse craze is driven by online sales, he said. 

Of course, there are some things you can’t order online, like a pool. And at Seasonal Specialty Stores, business has been brisk.

“2015 was the best year we ever had, until 2016,” said DiPaolo. Weather, more than the economy, will dictate how 2017 works out. He can’t find the people to service pools, but he is making sure he gets back the in-store summer help who worked last year by using school scholarships, bonuses, flex time, catered lunch and Kool Pops in the freezer.

Pay has gone up, he said, “but if you want to keep good help, it’s way more than the money.”  

Rochester, NH announces LED streetlight conversion

May 2, 2017

Original article can be found at this address.

City Street Lights – L.E.D Conversion

City of Rochester Street Light – LED Conversion Project

The City of Rochester Department of Public Works is pleased to announce that work has commenced on the conversion of streetlights to high efficiency LED’s (light emitting diodes).  Affinity LED Lighting out of Dover has been contracted to retrofit approximately 1,450 municipally owned streetlights to high efficiency LED light fixtures. Crews started work on Monday May 1 and they plan to have one-half of the City completed by June.  Affinity Lighting has other project commitments, so they will be remobilizing in the Fall of 2017 such that all retrofits will be completed by the end of November 2017.

The field work will consist of a single bucket truck working at each existing streetlight for a period not expected to last more than one hour per location. There will be no impact to residents’ electrical service during this time. The only noticeable change may be the color of the light changing from a yellowish hue to a sharp white color.  The new fixtures are utilizing a light intensity that meets recommendations suggested by the American Medical Association.

The LED retrofits are projected to cost just under $350,000 and should result in annual electricity cost savings of over $95,000 per year. The LED light fixtures have an expected lifespan of 20 years.  Costs for the retrofit conversions are being offset by a $100,000 Energy Efficiency grant provided by Eversource.

If there are any specific questions regarding this work, please contact John Storer, Director of City Services, Department of Public Works at (603) 332-4096

City approves LED lighting

March 22, 2017

Original article can be found at this address.

City approves LED lighting

SOMERSWORTH — Energy efficient lighting is coming to the Hilltop City.

The Somersworth City Council on Monday approved a deal with Affinity LED Lighting of Dover to convert 749 streetlights to LED, which stands for “light emitting diode.” LED lights consume less electricity and last longer than conventional bulbs.

The cost of the project is $181,882, but at the request of City Manager Bob Belmore, the council approved $200,000 to include a contingency so that the city can handle any street lights that might not be on the Eversource ledger.

Belmore said some of the extra funds can be used to change out lights in city parking lots if needed.

The city is also receiving money from Eversource, which required the city to move quickly on the project to qualify.

“Eversource is committing $73,725 in incentive funding,” Belmore said. “With this funding, we anticipate about a two-year payback with the project and then we will be saving about $56,000 a year.”

The project includes a survey to confirm the actual number of street lights in the city and disposal of the old fixtures and bulbs.

Affinity LED was recently awarded contracts in Portsmouth, Rochester and Dover for similar projects.

Affinity principals Steve Lieber and John Branagan attended the City Council meeting and displayed examples of the new lights.

Lieber said Affinity manufactures its lights at the Washington Street Mills in Dover and they are proud to hire local veterans.

The company completing projects in Merrimack and Claremont and has begun the Portsmouth conversion. Lieber said all Tri-City area projects will be completed by the end of the year.

Portsmouth Installing LED Street Lights Citywide

March 9, 2017

Original article can be found at this address.

March 9, 2017

PORTSMOUTH, NH – Last year, the Department of Public Works conducted a successful pilot
program installing Light Emitting Diode (LED) street light technology in several areas of the City that
demonstrated reduced energy consumption and financial benefits. After evaluating the pilot program,
working with Eversource and conducting extensive research, the City has selected Affinity LED Lighting
to assist in converting all of its high pressure sodium (HPS) street lights to LED lights. With this citywide
implementation, the City will experience further reductions in energy consumption, costs and light
pollution, along with improved visibility and safety on the roads.

“The wide spread industry adoption of LED lights presents an important opportunity to improve
energy efficiency while providing tangible upgrades to the City’s infrastructure,” said Jacob Levenson,
Solid Waste and Sustainability Coordinator for the City. “We’re excited to officially have this project
underway and further elevate our status as an eco-municipality.”

Eversource Collaboration
The City has been coordinating with Eversource throughout this process to identify and repair
non-working streetlights. The NHPUC Tariff states that Eversource must perform all maintenance of
lighting fixtures. Bulb or ballast replacements are included in the monthly rate the City pays Eversource;
however, the entire fixture head replacement is a separate additional charge to the City. In preparation of
the full LED streetlight conversion, Public Works has replaced 27 broken cobra head streetlights with
new Affinity LED cobra heads and installed LED retrofits in 42 unique streetlight fixtures along the
Newington Street entrance to Pease International Tradeport. Rebates totaling $7,425 were secured to
repair and/or replace these existing streetlight fixtures with LED lights.
Public Works has also successfully secured Eversource rebates totaling $100,000 for the
conversion of existing streetlight fixtures to LED lights. With the rebates secured, Public Works
anticipates a two and a half year net payback once all 1,610 streetlights have been converted to LED. By
converting streetlights to LED equipment, the City will save $120,000 in annual cost, 494,000 kWh of
annual electricity consumption, and prevent over 300 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year.

Health Outlooks
While reduced energy consumption and CO2 emissions bring significant benefits, Public Works
has also paid close attention to ensure the new lights comply with emerging American Medical
Association (AMA) guidelines regarding best practices for LED street lighting and how to minimize
potentially harmful effects. According to the AMA, LEDs that are rated above 4,000 Kelvin (K), using
the temperature measurement by which light color is measured, should be avoided. The problem isn’t
brightness so much as wavelength, light that appears white to the naked eye contain larger amounts of
blue light. Our eyes treat “white” blue-heavy light, such as the glow of a smartphone, like the midday sun.
The science is still evolving, and recent studies have postulated a link between blue light and our bodies’
responsiveness that set our daily circadian rhythm.

LED lights are typically hailed as a positive for the environment because they consume much less
electricity and last much longer than high pressure sodium lights. While the AMA welcomes the reduced
emissions and energy efficiency benefits of LED lights, they encourage proper attention to optimal design
and engineering features to minimize potential health and environmental effects caused by too much
“white” blue light. The City’s LED lights will shine at warm 3,000K, are Dark Sky compliant and will
provide more accurate color rendering. By correctly reproducing the colors of objects in comparison to
the light source, improved color rendering makes it easier for drivers to recognize potential road hazards,
crosswalks, pedestrians, etc.

Project Details
Affinity will begin installations this month. For cost efficiency, this project will be split into two
years with an anticipated completion in early 2018. During installations, residents may notice a bucket
truck and a support vehicle with a team of three workers to install the new cobra light head fixtures which
are produced by Affinity-employed U.S. veterans in Dover. Once installations begin, Public Works will
have a real-time map displaying targeted and completed light replacements at www.cityofportsmouth.com
so residents can track the progress of this project. For more information, please contact Jacob Levenson at
766-1412 or [email protected]

Efficiency Maine Recognizes Affinity LED for Outstanding Contributions to Energy Efficiency in Maine

January 8, 2016

Original article can be found at this address.

EFFICIENCY MAINE RECOGNIZES OUTSTANDING LEADERSHIP IN ENERGY EFFICIENCY AT ANNUAL SYMPOSIUM

(AUGUSTA) – Efficiency Maine will hold its Annual Energy Symposium today in Augusta to discuss the role of energy efficiency in meeting climate change goals and to celebrate Maine’s top performers in energy efficiency. U.S. Senator Susan Collins will offer the keynote address; the American Council on Energy Efficiency’s (ACEEE) Suzanne Watson will speak on national trends in energy efficiency. Efficiency Maine will also award the Philip C. Hastings Award to Bethel-based Rick Karg for his outstanding leadership in the field of building science and energy efficiency.

U.S. Senator Susan Collins will begin the event with a discussion of energy and climate change policy. Policy Program Director for ACEEE, Suzanne Watson, will continue the discussion of energy policy and provide a national perspective on the role energy efficiency plays. Efficiency Maine Staff will lead a panel discussion on energy efficiency investments made possible through revenues from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Analysis by Efficiency Maine has shown that on average, $6 will be saved through lower energy bills for every $1 of RGGI funds invested through Efficiency Maine programs. In the past three years, Efficiency Maine has invested $26.6 million of RGGI funds and leveraged $50.6 million in incremental private investment. Over the full lifetime of the upgrades installed with the help of these RGGI funds, Maine customers are expected to save $166.8 million through lower energy costs. The panel will discuss examples of cost-effective energy efficiency investments in the industrial, commercial, and residential sectors, including the increased use of process improvements in the manufacturing sector and ductless heat pumps in low-income households. The panel will also discuss the opportunity for energy efficiency in these sectors looking forward.

Efficiency Maine’s trade allies are instrumental in helping Mainers access cost-effective energy efficiency and are the drivers of the growing energy efficiency industry in Maine. This afternoon, Efficiency Maine will recognize several of these businesses for outstanding performance in connecting Maine businesses and homeowners with energy efficiency upgrades. Thirty businesses and organizations (listed below) will be recognized this year for their leadership in energy efficiency in Efficiency Maine Business Programs, Residential Programs, marketing strategies, and innovation in the marketplace.
Also, Rick Karg will be named this year’s recipient of Efficiency Maine’s Philip C. Hastings Award.

The Hastings Award is presented to an individual or organization that exemplifies the spirit of the late Phil Hastings, the Founding Director of Efficiency Maine. Phil is remembered for his extraordinary patience, sharp intelligence, and dedication to energy efficiency. To honor his memory, the Philip C. Hastings Award recognizes an individual or organization whose exemplary efforts have furthered Maine’s energy efficiency goals.

Karg will be honored for his work as a thought leader on building science, energy efficiency, weatherization, and indoor air quality. Karg is the author of multiple energy efficiency and building science studies, technical guides, curricula, and software; in addition, he has trained professionals in residential and commercial energy management for over 30 years including many of the energy professionals working in Maine. Karg has been a key figure in establishing the once nascent field of building science and is known throughout the industry for the breadth of his knowledge, extraordinary skill as a teacher, and great kindness.

Efficiency Maine is an independent trust dedicated to promoting the efficient and cost-effective use of energy in order to save money for Maine residents and businesses, grow the economy, and create jobs. For more information, visit www.EfficiencyMaine.com or call 1-866-376-2463.

Efficiency Maine recognizes these businesses and organizations for outstanding contributions to energy efficiency in Maine

Efficiency Maine Business Programs

Affinity LED Light, Dover, NH
A.H. Mackenzie Design, Portland, ME
Bangor Winlectric, Bangor, ME
Energize ME, Gorham, ME
Energy Audits, Ltd., Portland, ME
John W. Kennedy Co., Hampden, ME
Keeley Electrical Contractors, Portland, ME
Kennebec Electric & Lighting, Waterville, ME
SMRT Architects and Engineers , Portland, ME
Thayer Corporation, Auburn, ME
Wesco Distribution, Portland, ME

Efficiency Maine Residential Programs

Advanced Spray Foam, Benton, ME
The Breathable Home, Manchester, ME
Central Maine Heat Pumps, Benton, ME
Dave’s World, Dover-Foxcroft, ME
Don’s Stove Shop, Livermore, ME
Evergreen Home Performance, Rockland, ME
The Heat Doctor, Portland, ME
Horizon Energy Services, Portland, ME
Lowe’s Home Improvement, Mooresville, NC
Maine Alternative Comfort, Bangor, ME
New England Spray Foam Insulation, Portland, ME
Penobscot Home Performance, Brewer, ME
Pine State Services, South Portland, ME
Rook Energy Systems, Yarmouth, ME
Upright Frameworks, Wilton, ME
Valley Satellite & Heat Pumps, Patten, ME

Marketing

Central Maine Heat Pumps, Benton, ME
Dave’s World, Dover-Foxcroft, ME
Evergreen Home Performance, Rockland, ME
Optimal Energy Group, Sumner, ME
Penobscot Home Performance, Brewer, ME
Royal River Heat Pumps, Freeport, ME

Innovation

Grants to Green Maine

Philip C. Hastings Award

Rick Karg

Dover Ice Arena lighting upgrades moving ahead

March 17, 2015

Original article can be found at this address.

Dover Ice Arena lighting upgrades moving ahead

By Casey Conley / [email protected]

DOVER — The city is moving ahead with plans to replace fluorescent lights inside the Dover Ice Arena with more efficient LED bulbs.

The project, which requires final City Council approval, has zero up-front cost and will pay for itself in 40 months. After that time, the arena will save about $2,700 a month on electricity bills that average about $15,000 a month.

“The cost savings is first and foremost. But the maintenance on these (LED lights), those things are warrantied for 10 or 12 years,” said Arena Manager Patrick McNulty, adding that less-frequent light replacement will free up employees for other tasks.

The city-owned arena was built 38 years ago and renovated in 2000. The facility operates seven days a week and has hundreds of fluorescent lights installed over two ice rinks, bathrooms and locker rooms and in hallways, offices and parking lots.

The proposal that came before the City Council for an initial review last week calls for hiring Dover-based Affinity LED Lighting to replace every fluorescent bulb at the facility. Affinity’s proposal was chosen from eight potential vendors.

The project will cost about $123,000, although Eversource Energy will pay up-front costs through its Municipal Smart Start program. Once the lights are installed, the arena will continue paying the same monthly bills as before. But savings realized from using the more efficient LED lights over that time will repay the utility for its initial investment.

Once that 40-month repayment window has passed, the city will own the lights and have lower monthly bills. LED lights use less energy than fluorescent bulbs so they cost less money to operate.

“Essentially, we become the contractor, the city is the owner and they put up no money, and Eversource pays the contractor,” Steve Lieber, founder of Affinity LED Lighting, said of the program.

Public Service of New Hampshire recently changed its name to Eversource Energy.

LED lights are brighter than traditional fluorescent bulbs, which also tend to fade soon after they’ve been installed, McNulty said. The LEDs planned for the arena can be dimmed, and new equipment will allow on-demand lighting throughout the venue. Currently, the lights over the ice are either all on or all off.

Those capabilities will help the arena reduce its electrical bills even further, Lieber said.

The city council is expected to hold a public hearing on the proposal on March 25. A final vote is planned sometime next month. Based on that timetable, the new lights could be installed in June when the arena closes for maintenance.