Co-ops introduce a night-friendly LED yard light
By Lindsey Listrom
North Carolina's electric cooperatives are at the forefront of new technology that is improving outdoor lighting, bringing jobs to the state, and could save big bucks and energy for co-op members.
When night falls, outdoor fixtures called yard lights or security lights brighten up walkways, sheds and backyards, at even the most remote homesteads. In 2005, federal legislation banned the traditional mercury-vapor outdoor lamps, and co-ops realized that no suitable replacement fixture existed.
North Carolina's electric co-ops began working with Innovative Electronic Solutions Lighting, a Morrisville, N.C.-based company, to develop a new LED outdoor light at a reasonable price. After four years of development, testing and design improvements, the lights are being manufactured in North Carolina using local materials. "It's North Carolina folks working on a North Carolina product for North Carolina people," said Fulton Smith of Tarheel Electric Membership Association, a materials supplier owned by the state's electric co-ops.
Each LED light is expected to last 12–14 years, and compared to traditional yard lights they are more energy-efficient and do not illuminate the night sky or a neighbor's property. Also, they can be controlled remotely — which could result in major cost savings for co-ops and members, Smith said.
"The co-ops are all about North Carolina people, and this is a North Carolina project that has gone nationwide."
LED lighting is still an evolving technology, and not all cooperatives carry them. Contact your electric cooperative for information about outdoor lighting that is available in your area.