Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a series of LED lighting upgrades throughout the Thruway and Canal system that are projected to reduce the Thruway Authority's electric costs by an estimated 20 percent. These lighting upgrades also provide improved visibility, helping to maintain and enhance safety on the Thruway and Canal systems. The Thruway Authority is working to incorporate energy-efficient technologies such as LED lighting as they become available.
"As we celebrate Earth Week, New York is continuing to move forward with efforts to increase energy efficiency and reduce costs in state government by adopting new green technologies," Governor Cuomo said. "The Thruway's LED lighting project is one example of how we are doing our part to use less electricity. In addition, these environmentally friendly upgrades will result in significant savings -- and pay for themselves -- which is great news for toll payers."
"In addition to reducing our electric costs by nearly 20 percent, this innovative lighting technology is more environmentally friendly and enhances both the safety and security of our motorists. We're providing a better product and actually cutting costs at the same time," said Thruway Executive Director Thomas J. Madison. "These upgrades are part of our wide-ranging effort to work more efficiently in every aspect of Thruway operations while continuing to provide motorists with the best possible experience."
The LED lighting upgrades will reduce the Authority's annual electric bill which is $2 million. Currently, upgrades are in process or have been completed at nearly 20 toll barriers and plazas such as Exits 24 (Albany), 25 (Amsterdam), 35 (Syracuse), 38 (Syracuse), and 39 (Syracuse). Several more locations including the Williamsville toll barrier, Exit 48A (Pembroke), Exit 18 (New Paltz), and the Canal maintenance station in Fonda are in the auditing or planning stages.
One of the major benefits of LED lighting is its durability. LED bulbs can last up to a decade and require less energy than the traditional high pressure sodium fixtures, resulting in both lower energy and maintenance costs. Additionally, the light emitted shines brighter providing improved visibility.
For example, the lighting upgrade at Exit 24 will reduce energy usage at the facility by 25 percent (or 93,360 kilowatt hours) for an annual operating savings of about $10,400.
The installation process itself is a cost saving measure as well. The Thruway Authority is eligible for a number of incentives and rebates from National Grid. In addition, the installations are performed by Thruway employees to avoid further labor costs. Once the installation is complete, the savings in energy costs enable the project to pay for itself in less than two years.
The total cost of the lighting upgrade project at Exit 24 was $26,315, but after receiving incentives and rebates along with the utilization of the Thruway staff, the final cost to the Authority was about $2,000.
In addition to extending the program to all 60 toll plazas and barriers in the system and its 26 maintenance locations, the Thruway Authority is currently partnering with HMS Host Corporation to upgrade the parking lot and exterior lighting at Chittenango Travel Plaza. The Thruway Authority anticipates similar projects occurring at various travel plazas in the future.
The Thruway Authority also integrates environmentally friendly solar technology at 289 locations and has begun a project to install wind turbines in the Buffalo Division.