Sykesville residents might soon notice the lights in town are a bit brighter.
The town has procured a $25,000 grant from the Maryland Energy Administration to use toward implementing energy-saving lights in town.
In October’s town council meeting, Jared Schumacher, the town’s grant manager, proposed the MEA grant with the promise that it would reduce the town’s overall energy by 15 percent. The council voted 5-2 in favor, with council President Alan Grasley and Councilman Jeremiah Schofield voting against.
At Sykesville’s town council meeting Monday night, a representative from Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. spoke to the council on ways they can continue to save on energy.
“What the plan is designed to do is take your existing lights, your street lights, which BGE has already come out and identified what belongs to you and what belongs to us as far as ownership and give work to the LED technology‚” said Richard Taylor, a BGE spokesman.
According to Taylor, the plan would cut utility costs by 45 to 55 percent and would come with a light lifespan of 10 to 12 years.
LED lights — LED stands for light-emitting diode — generally require less energy to produce brighter light than conventional bulbs.
Taylor said Sykesville could further reduce the total cost to the town through rebates available through the EmPower Maryland Smart Energy Savers Program, though it’s not yet clear how much those savings might be.
According to Mayor Ian Shaw, the town is already saving a deal of money from switching over to LEDs.
“It’s hard to argue; I’m going to say, I think, we’re saving $1,000 a month just with the LED upgrades we’ve already done,” Shaw said.
Taylor has already placed some demos of the brighter LED lights in a number of buildings in town to see how residents will respond to them.
LED lights can help to better light streets at night, in turn helping to boost safety in public areas.
There are some concerns about how the lights will affect residents overall, though.
“You have to be conscious to the fact that for people that live in these areas, the light can be a bit much,” Taylor said. “So, as far as logistics go, that’s something we have to be aware of as we implement the LED technology because it does provide a level of security but it can be, people are like, ‘Hey, it’s like daylight in my house at night.’ ”
Councilman Mark Dyer also shared concerns about the brightness for one resident in particular.
“If you go about 4,000 kelvin, my wife’s going to be angry,” Dyer said. “For some reason she hates when you go up to, say 6500 K, when I first brought it home it was all I heard about until I found a replacement.”
Town officials do not yet have dates set for more LED lights to be installed.