‘Green’ lighting installed in Summit County | VailDaily.com

‘Green’ lighting installed in Summit County

Caitlin Row
crow@summitdaily.com
Summit County, CO Colorado

Summit Daily | Mark FoxFrisco Bay Marina manager Phil Hofer is at the controls of the Genie lift while working to install solar- and wind-powered street lights at the marina recently.

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colorado – To light up the Frisco Marina while staying true to the town’s desire for green-energy initiatives, marina manager Phil Hofer put his thinking cap on.

“No. 1, we needed light down here for safety and security,” Hofer said. “I didn’t want to tear up the landscaping and infrastructure. So, I thought outside the box.”

The end result was hybrid lighting running on both solar and wind power, which creates wattage that goes into a control box to charge the batteries.

Four separate lights were installed recently – two by the bar and two by the parking lot, and they’re now up and running. Hofer also noted there’s room to grow – four more lights could be installed on the system if desired.

“It’s perfect for Frisco because we have a lot of sun and a lot of wind,” he said.

The new marina lighting runs from dusk to dawn – the 70-watt bulbs run at 35 watts until a motion sensor goes off. Then it goes to the full 70.

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“It saves the battery,” Hofer added.

Solar panels collect energy during the day, while wind energy can be gathered anytime.

The Town of Frisco is also going to great efforts to replace the median lighting on Summit Boulevard.

“It’s a more energy-efficient fixture with 40-watt bulbs,” said Tim Mack, director of public works. “It fits right in with our environmental sustainability program. These lights will, on estimate, use half the energy of the old fixtures.”

Mack said 46 lights are currently going in – a big project. He also hopes for lights on Main Street to be updated once the town starts up its Main Street revitalization plan, otherwise known as “Step up Main Street.”

Frisco officials hope to get a redevelopment plan for the area between Summit Boulevard and Madison Avenue on Main Street started within the next few years. A design has already been created.

Green lighting throughout the county

Frisco isn’t the only town to seek out greener styles of lighting. It, along with Silverthorne and Breckenridge, have dark skies ordinances in place, calling for new buildings and town structures to have less invasive, energy-saving lights. Dark-skies rules generally call for directional lighting that doesn’t shine up into the night sky.

In Silverthorne, the town is currently taking 16-year-old recreation center fixtures and upgrading them for more efficient lighting.

“The type of new lighting will vary from location to location,” said Bill Linfield, Silverthorne’s public works director. “For example, the lighting needs in the gym area are different than in the office areas, as are the fixtures. But in all cases, upgrades will be made that will include better lighting levels at lower energy usage.”

Linfield said related upgrades are being done at town hall too, where fixtures are 24 years old.

“Similar upgrades have already been completed at the town shops and at the JSA treatment plant,” he added. “In all cases, we try to balance the cost of the conversion with the energy savings over time to insure we get the most bang for our buck, while remaining conscious of the environmental considerations.”

To promote its green initiatives, like the dark- skies effort, Breckenridge even formed a Green Team to reduce the ecological footprint of the town. The group works together to encourage commitment to responsible stewardship of local resources and sustainability.

And Dillon will be the next town on the green-lighting bandwagon.

“Our dark-skies ordinance is still in draft form and has not been adopted,” said Dillon’s town manager Devin Granbery.” I would anticipate council will take it up later this year or sometime next year.”

SDN reporter Caitlin Row can be reached at (970) 668-4633 or at crow@summitdaily.com.