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February 25, 2021
Governing Body Approves Public Works Contracts

Streetlights Conversion to Promote Conservation and Safety, Preserve Night Skies and Upgrades to Water and Electrical Fixtures, Solar Panel Installations at City Facilities

On Wednesday, February 24, the Governing Body approved Public Works contracts that represent significant progress on Santa Fe’s mission to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040. One is for the conversion of City-owned streetlights to energy-efficient LED lights, and their maintenance. Another is for the installation of solar panels and other devices at City-owned facilities to conserve energy and water. Both projects are expected to save enough on utility costs to pay for themselves over time.

The Governing Body heard public comments that expressed significant concern about the possible impact of the proposed new streetlights on the night sky that is such a dramatic contributor to the quality of life in Santa Fe. Having received that message loud and clear, an amendment was adopted stipulating that the City will develop a community engagement process that will result in a lighting design plan that will protect the night sky, save energy, and keep roads and neighborhoods safe. The vote extended the project by three months to make time for community outreach and for pilot projects that will model different lighting solutions. 

By converting streetlights to LEDs, reliability will be improved and electricity use reduced by 50-60 percent. The new streetlights are smart-ready, which will facilitate remote monitoring and control, including potential overnight dimming strategies.

Constituents will be able to report streetlight issues by phone, website, or using an online work order system. PNM owns 2,057 of the 5,550 streetlights in the city, and the City is entering a separate contract for those conversions

Also approved is a $15.5 million contract for installing solar panels, upgrading water fixtures, and installing efficient lighting and transformers at certain City buildings and facilities. The solar project will add 2.75 megawatts of renewable energy to offset up to 80 percent of consumption at select City Water Utility and Buckman Direct Diversion sites. About 760 existing water fixtures will be upgraded, 9,000 existing light fixtures will be upgraded to LED, and repairs and other upgrades will be made to save energy. This project is expected to save more than $750,000 per year in utility bills, as well as saving a little over 2 million gallons of water per year. This will cut the City’s carbon emissions by more than 6.7 million pounds a year.

“Our goal is to make Santa Fe the most sustainable city in America," says Mayor Alan Webber. "This package of projects will move us toward that goal. Along with the announcement earlier this week of TreeSmart Santa Fe, it’s been a great week for sustainability in Santa Fe.”

You can view the discussion and packet material on these two items online by clicking here.

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