Top Streetlights: A Checklist for University Facility Managers

When it comes to campus safety, one of the easiest ways to quickly make a safer campus is through exterior lighting improvements.

People tend to feel unsafe on unevenly lit walkways and around dark corners. In fact, “walking on unlit pathways” was one of the top safety concerns listed by the 179,000 college students recently surveyed by New lighting on campus is a quick fix that actually works.

More colleges and universities recognize that upgrading their lighting to LEDs, can improve campus safety, reduce energy costs, and reduce their carbon footprint. LED lighting technology is a win-win on every front and it is revolutionizing the lighting industry.

A Checklist for LED Street Lighting Upgrades

Here are the factors to consider when retrofitting pedestrian lighting on campus:

  • Safer campuses: More light on walkways and around academic buildings and residence halls makes for a safer environment on campus. Additionally, LED technology can significantly improve the quality of images captured through closed-circuit television systems (CCTV) and security cameras. Having better images makes law enforcement’s job much easier when they are investigating incidents and makes for a more secure campus.
  • Significant energy savings: LED technology is extremely efficient and uses dramatically less power than conventional lighting. Energy bills can be slashed by as much as 90 percent with LED lighting. That difference can result in $100s of thousands in annual savings — a major boost to the operating budget.
  • Easy retrofitting: Maintain your current campus aesthetics by using Amerlux’s Avista LED lighting in your existing light fixtures (luminaires). Designed for easy retrofitting, Avista LED light engines can be installed in just 15 minutes in most fixtures. Avista can be simply retrofitted into a wide variety of luminaires, including those by Holophane, Hadco, King, Louis Poulsen, Lumec, Pemco, Sternberg, Visco.
  • Long-term reliability: Avista lights can deliver years of maintenance-free operation, due to the LED technology and durable construction. The quality of the light (lumen output) in LEDs remains constant and consistent for 50,000 – 100,000 hours of use, versus 100 hours for outdated conventional lighting such as metal halide and high-pressure sodium. Additionally, Avista LEDs are IP66-rated to withstand water and dust intrusion, ensuring functional operation in cold, wet and dusty conditions and prolonging the life of the lighting engine. Install Avista LEDs on your campus today and your current students will be bringing their children back to campus for tours before you have to replace the lights, which is why university facility managers choose Amerlux.
  • Environmentally friendly: LEDs use a fraction of the energy that conventional lighting requires and frequently delivers more lumens for that power. Besides the savings this brings to your energy bills, it also helps the environment by wasting less power. Avista lighting has three different lighting distribution options (symmetric, asymmetric, and low-glare street optic) so you can customize the lamps output. This ensures the light goes where it is needed without waste and does not trespass outside its designated area — all factors that help with green certifications such as LEED. Besides using less energy, LEDs also lack the hazardous materials, such as mercury that fluorescent and HID lights contain, making them more environmentally-friendly all around. Avista lighting is an easy tool to help your institution enhance its sustainability and position it as a leader in green practices.
  • Get started right away: You can have Avista lights in your hands in as few as 10 days.

Campus security is not something to make light of. You can help your university be seen in the best light by upgrading to Amerlux Avista lights. See how.


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How Los Angeles cut energy costs by 75% with Avista lights

Lead Capture

How Contractors Reduce Costly Call-Backs

Not all lights are created equal and contractors understand that the best long-term solution requires quality products from trusted manufacturers. A leader for more than 30 years, Amerlux’s Passo step lights are efficient, high-performing and reliable.

Electrical contractors are extremely busy these days, as more organizations rush to upgrade their lighting to take advantage of tax credits before they expire.

Because the clock is ticking, contractors don’t have time for lighting fixtures that are difficult to install or skimp on quality. Their customers demand high-performing, energy-efficient and reliable illumination that enhances safety, as well as aesthetics.

Getting it right the first time means fewer costly call-backs for contractors, which can tarnish their reputation and dramatically reduce repeat business that generates the bulk of profits.

When contractors want steadfast step lights that work whether it rains or shines, they choose Amerlux’s break-through Passo step lights.

Contractors understand that all lights aren’t created equal.  For the best long-term solution, they opt for quality products from trusted manufacturers.  As a leader in application-driven lighting innovation for more than 30 years, Amerlux’s Passo step lights deliver high-performing, reliable, energy-efficient, as well as comfortable illumination to stairs, pathways and building exteriors.

“We understand the complications of installing step lights and have successfully addressed those with our Passo family of step and wall lights,” said Bill Plageman, Amerlux’s vice president of marketing.

Here’s how Amerlux has specifically addressed several concerns from contractors:

  • Ease of Installation: Constructed with installers in mind, Passo’s retrofit models are specially designed to easily and quickly replace costly, high-maintenance step lights driven by conventional lighting technology. Passo models designed for new construction projects feature an injection-molded PVC housing with integral machined brass anchor blocks that complement the sealed properties of the LED module and driver, ensuring added protection against corrosive environments.  Whether a retrofit or new construction application, Amerlux’s Passo step lights provide contractors with a hassle-free installation experience.
  • Engineering for Reliability: Weather-proof Passo step lights feature game-changing innovation, including an independently sealed LED optical chamber (encompassing an LED array and heatsink enclosed in an IP66-rated sealed glass tube) that eliminates water infiltration, the No. 1 cause of product failure. Such innovation minimizes the risk of outages and the subsequent high labor costs associated with maintenance.  The bottom line?  No dissatisfied customers or costly call-backs for contractors.
  • Flexible Design: Passo is available in a wide selection of sizes, faceplates, color temperatures and light output levels to meet the needs of most any project. Specifically, Passo step lights come in louver, stainless steel louver, and tempered soft glow lens versions and in round, square, and rectangular shapes for new construction projects, as well as 8-inch and 12-inch rectangular shapes for retrofit projects.  A choice of solid color composite, brushed stainless steel, or painted cast aluminum faceplates provides additional flexibility and design versatility that will satisfy even the most discerning customer.
  • Flexible Light Output: Passo luminaires offer added versatility thanks to their availability in a choice of two light output levels, enabling contractors to tailor the desired illuminance to the specific project and ensure the optimal visibility and aesthetic effect.
  • Connectivity and Compatibility: Passo’s standard 0-10V dimmable driver ensures greater integration with the market’s most popular controls, minimizing complexity and product compatibility issues for contractors.
  • Service with a Smile: Amerlux knows that long wait times and delivery issues can cost contractors time and money….and sometimes even the job! Most Passo step lights can ship in 10 days or less from the time they’re ordered to quickly advance any new construction or retrofit project; contractors or customers with special requests can also avail themselves of Amerlux’s renowned concierge services.

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Bright Lights, Beautiful City

Amerlux’s Game-Changing Avista Light Engine Helps City of Portland

Decrease Energy Consumption 60%, While Preserving Vintage Streetlamps

Amerlux’s Avista LED light engines helped Portland, Oregon preserve its vintage light fixtures, while reducing energy consumption by 60 percent.

As the largest city in Oregon with more than three million residents in its metro area, Portland is home to breathtaking natural beauty, a wealth of microbreweries and coffeehouses, and a historic downtown marked by must-see landmarks. The city is also renowned for its thriving eco-friendly scene and focus on sustainability, so it came as no surprise when The Portland Bureau of Transportation began upgrading the city’s 52,000 streetlamps to energy-efficient LED technology in 2014. The City of Portland wanted to move forward with new energy-efficient lighting technology, but not at the expense of its vintage streetlamps, which had proved to be an obstacle in the past.

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Lead Capture

Pedestrian Lighting: City Managers Consider 7 Factors

pedestrian lights

Thanks to the benefits of light-emitting diode (LED) technology, more than 600 cities from New York to Los Angeles are in the process of upgrading less-efficient lighting sources.

LEDs provide a longer useful life, minimal maintenance, appealing color rendering and increasingly attractive price points. In short, LEDs can deliver decades of reliable and attractive illumination to the nation’s estimated 26-44 million streetlamps—the average of which is reportedly older than 25 years old and in need of modernization, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Municipal Solid-State Streetlighting Consortium.

However, pedestrian streetlighting upgrade projects in cities and municipalities are complex endeavors that require thoughtful consideration and careful collaboration between city managers and lighting providers to ensure the most successful outcome.

Two industry experts—Lisa Elbert, P.E., signals and lighting engineer with the City of Portland at Oregon’s Bureau of Transportation (which recently oversaw the upgrade of Portland’s 6,100 century-old single and twin ornamental decorative fixtures to Amerlux’s Avista LED light engine), and Jason Strano, C.E.M., energy sales manager at leading lighting agency Reflex Lighting in Wethersfield, Connecticut—recommend several key factors city managers should consider when upgrading the pedestrian streetlighting in municipalities.

  1. Evaluate Performance. When evaluating between different lighting options, “a fixture’s performance is critical – color temperature, brightness, etc.,” Elbert said. “In Portland, we were constantly running numbers, looking at how the lighting performed using AGI, a simulation tool used for designing lighting projects, and assessing the visual effect of that light on our streets and sidewalks, compared to our previous high pressure sodium technology.” Elbert and her team ultimately settled on LEDs with a 3000K color temperature, “which is a very comfortable and palatable color that’s gained increasing acceptance in streetlighting nationwide,” she said.
  1. Ensure Uniformity. As part of a comprehensive assessment of various fixtures, Strano confirms that the lighting needs to be uniform throughout the space and free of any hot-spotting, shadows or gaps that both detract from its aesthetics, as well as enable criminal behavior. If the skills aren’t resident in-house, “it’s important to take advantage of the services of a lighting specialist with expertise in preparing photometric layouts so that you can see exactly how your space will be lit by the fixtures, including light and dark areas,” Strano said. “You also want to ensure that you’re providing equal lighting without over-lighting the space.”
  1. Go LED. With their exceptional performance, high efficiency, long life, and affordability, Strano confirms that there’s no reason not to pursue LEDs for city streetlight upgrades. “You want to emulate a nice, natural moonlit effect when lighting city streets and LEDs are able to do that,” he said. “City managers are lucky to have so many LED options today. Though high-pressure sodium and metal halide have been around for a long time, price points for LEDs are now nearly equivalent to those older technologies, and the tremendous energy and maintenance savings that LEDs deliver over their extended lifespan makes them a no-brainer.”
  1. Pursue Rebates. Whether you’re in a part of the country with a high or low kWh utility rate, “the availability of utility rebates and incentives on specific LED fixtures can make a streetlighting upgrade project more palatable,” said Strano of the subsidies that can help to offset up-front project costs, as well as enhance its economics overall—all of which are critical factors for city managers, especially when projects are funded by taxpayer dollars. (According to the U.S. Department of Energy, streetlighting nationwide accounts for $2-3 billion in annual energy costs alone.) To get access to such utility rebates, Strano recommends opting for an LED fixture that’s listed by the DesignLights Consortium (DLC), a renowned organization that establishes product quality specifications, facilitates thought leadership, and provides information, education, tools, and technical expertise in an effort to promote high-quality, energy-efficient lighting products in collaboration with utilities and energy efficiency program members and government entities. Elbert agreed, noting that a rebate which the City of Portland successfully secured on the purchase of its Avista LEDs from the local Energy Trust of Oregon and the Oregon Department of Energy positively impacted its project’s ROI and reduced the payback period.
  1. Preserve the Dark Sky. Strano recommends choosing a fixture that’s dark sky-compliant, which means it supports the global movement to help reduce the amount of light pollution emitted into the sky by outdoor lighting fixtures. As opposed to older technologies like high-pressure sodium that often distributed light upwards, disturbing the night sky along with local residents and wildlife, “LEDs allow us to put light and energy exactly where it needs to be,” he said. “They enable us to better control the distribution and color temperature of light so that we’re not just throwing light out there and creating all of that light pollution.”
  1. Consider the Impact of Trees. “We love trees and they’re a major part of our streetscape here, but they can also block light,” said Elbert of the leafy, tree-lined streets of Portland. “If obstacles like trees are in the way, you won’t get the performance you need out of your lighting. We’re constantly battling this issue and there’s no easy answer, but we came to the realization that trees can often wreak havoc on lighting systems.” As a result, Elbert recommends that a plan for managing trees should be part of a city’s overall streetlighting strategy. “Developers who reconstruct property frontages need to space trees properly, and we also look carefully at different tree species and do our best to prune our trees so that they rise above the lighting, as a tree canopy over the top of the lighting can add ambiance,” she said.
  1. Go with a Trusted Manufacturer. Strano recommends that city managers avoid making lighting decisions based solely on first cost. “There are a lot of less-expensive fixtures out there made by less-experienced manufacturers, but for cities, towns, and institutions that plan to be there for the long haul, it’s important to make a good investment that will last and go with a manufacturer who’s vested in the industry and will stand by their product,” he said.


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Lead Capture

Top Pitfalls to Avoid with Pedestrian Lighting

pedestrian lights
The City of Portland, Oregon upgraded their lighting to Avista LEDs, resulting in a 60% decrease in energy costs.

City managers face several challenges when selecting pedestrian lighting.

These complex projects require a level of collaboration between the city manager and lighting providers to ensure various benefits, such as reduced energy consumption and expense, less maintenance and enhanced color rendering, are realized.

In fact, there are seven important items that should be considered, according to industry experts Lisa Elbert, P.E., who is a signals and lighting engineer with the City of Portland, and Jason Strano, C.E.M., who is an energy sales manager at leading lighting agency Reflex Lighting in Wethersfield, Connecticut.

  • Don’t Neglect the Specs. Because fixture performance is key, “spec out every detail and everything you want,” advised Elbert, who thoroughly reviewed and verified Illuminating Engineering Society-specified “LM-79” and “LM-80” electrical and photometric measurements of life and performance on the LED products it evaluated, how the lighting performed using AGI, a simulation tool used for designing lighting projects, and how the lighting actually looked to the eye on Portland’s streets and sidewalks, compared to the city’s previous high-pressure sodium technology. According to Elbert, failure to do this can result in regrets or unwelcome surprises later. (Elbert oversaw the upgrade of Portland’s 6,100 century-old single and twin ornamental decorative fixtures to Amerlux’s Avista LED light engine.)
  • Don’t Pass on Due Diligence. Strano agreed that there’s no substitute for a comprehensive due diligence process up-front. “Dismantle a fixture, get the right application or base plate and install it to see how everything works,” he said. “A few hours spent in the beginning taking the proper measurements will make the rest of the job so much easier.  Also, allow others to see the new lighting and encourage their feedback before moving forward.”
  • Don’t Go Too Big Too Soon. Based on her own hard experience in Portland, Elbert recommends that city managers test streetlighting products on a small scale before proceeding to change every streetlight targeted for upgrade. “On an early LED project we did years ago, we installed 400 lights and within a year suffered a 50 percent failure rate,” she said.  “The project had involved a custom fixture incorporating controls that we had made for us and it was untested. When they started failing, there were so many variables involved that we didn’t know whether it was the lighting or controls causing the malfunction.  Because ‘too much too soon’ on an untested fixture can be a scary thing, we stick with known, tested products and test them on a smaller scale first, being sure to elicit some feedback before we proceed to a larger installation area.”
  • Don’t Fail to Communicate. In addition to anticipating as much as you can on a project, Strano confirmed that good communication is key. “Be as clear about your expectations as possible,” he advised.  “If you’re doing a retrofit and you want all of the fixture glass wiped down, for example, be sure to tell the lighting rep, distributor, and/or contractor so that you get exactly what you want.”
  • Don’t Forget About the Trees. While Portland and many cities and towns treasure the trees that line their streets, Elbert learned first-hand that those very trees can become obstacles that block light and impair the performance that’s required and expected from streetlighting fixtures. For that reason, Elbert suggests a close review of trees and their distance from streetlights.  “We recommend 25 feet of space between lights and trees—less than that triggers a closer review of the tree species,” she said.  “Lighting can be as close as 12 feet from a tree if it’s a narrow/columnar tree variety, but a 20+-foot distance between trees and streetlights is advised to ensure that the lighting can operate most effectively and meet its potential.”
  • Don’t Ignore the Maintenance Aspect. As part of a comprehensive evaluation process up-front, don’t forget to consider the voice of the contractor or maintenance crew. “Before you select a streetlighting fixture, be sure to review it with the people who will be maintaining it once it’s installed,” Elbert recommended.  “The maintenance team sees an entirely different product than we do. While we’re focused on a fixture’s performance, they see what’s involved in terms of the tools and trucks they’ll need to install or repair it.  You have to think about what will make a good/easy installation process for the team when selecting a fixture,” she said.  “That’s an important cost in the process that can often be forgotten.”
  • Don’t Fall for a Fly-by-Night. Strano can’t stress enough the importance of working with a trusted lighting manufacturer who’s vested in the industry. “You want to seek out a product made by a company with history and roots in the lighting industry,” he said.  “If you’re going for least cost and you don’t know where the product is manufactured or the company has only been in business for a short time and doesn’t have a known track record, you’re setting yourself up for potential problems.  You want to work with a solid manufacturer and/or lighting rep agency with experienced people and all of the resources in place to stand by the product and help you work through any questions or concerns you may have.”  Strano added that it’s especially important to make a wise investment up-front given the fact that many streetlighting upgrades are public projects that are funded by taxpayer dollars. (According to the U.S. Department of Energy, streetlighting nationwide accounts for $2-3 billion in annual energy costs alone.)

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Lead Capture

Amerlux Delivers: 10 Days or Less

Amerlux, an award-winning design-and-manufacture lighting company, announced today that it will ship all of its standard products in 10 days or less.

Five years ago, Amerlux launched a QuickShip program that pledged a short turnaround for a small handful of standard products that included recessed linear fixtures, recessed downlights and exterior floodlights.

Since embracing Lean manufacturing virtues in 2014, Amerlux has decided to disband the old program and offer a 10-day pledge for all standard products company-wide. The banner that hangs on the wall in the company’s production facility reads, “It’s not the BIG that eat the SMALL…it’s the FAST that eat the SLOW.”

“Time is money,” said Amerlux CEO and President Chuck Campagna. “We speak the same language as our customers. They plan, spec and maintain facilities and we do everything in our power to make sure that our products are shipped on time. No matter how complex the challenge, we take every opportunity personally until we exceed expectations.”

Thanks to thoughtful planning, employee feedback and continuous improvement, Amerlux has dramatically improved its manufacturing process, which continues to yield benefits for its customers through rapid efficiency. Consider a sample of progress:

  • Amerlux moved its entire production process from six buildings into one large 200,000 square-foot headquarters. In other words, one part would have to travel three-quarters of a mile or 3,960 feet before it became a fixture. Today, all parts are within five feet.
  • The company uses planning software so supervisors from production, planning and customer service departments can see orders visually move through the internal process, which eliminates constant “update” meetings.
  • Amerlux leverages a “supermarket” approach to production by organizing all the parts in bins behind the assembly lines so employees can turn around and quickly select what items they need.
  • Assembly lines were transformed into product lines instead of project lines so employees became more efficient in the process.
  • The company uses a vendor management inventory system to ensure that it’s never out of hardware (e.g. screws, washers, nuts), which is within 25 feet of the assembly lines.
  • Forklifts are relegated to traveling on “right of ways” or grooves built into the floor of the production facility to reduce the incidence of accidents, which cause down time for the pickers.
  • At daily assembly meetings, which last 5-10 minutes, issues are discussed that can be immediately resolved or they are elevated for more attention.

A recent internal report revealed that the time it takes Amerlux to produce one downlight has been reduced from 330 seconds to 60 seconds since it has implemented Lean procedures. Since 2016, on-time performance has improved from 40 percent to 95 percent.

New Exterior Lighting Solutions

A large portion of Amerlux’s portfolio is available for shipment within 10 days, including its new line of exterior lights, which underscore its commitment to value and reliable performance.

Its eligible exterior lighting solutions include:

  • Avista, which is the company’s pedestrian lighting product, is designed for a particular kind of fixture that mimics a traditional New England-style globe or “acorn.” The fixture is prevalent in the northeastern U.S. on campuses at universities, corporations, private communities and municipalities. Avista is available in new fixtures provided by Amerlux and as a retrofit of old light sources for many decorative fixtures in the marketplace. Its lumen output doesn’t begin to depreciate until after 50,000 hours of use and retrofit installations take less than 15 minutes per fixture. Avista’s breakthrough IP66 sealed LED Optical Chamber prevents water intrusion and extends its useful life. The upgraded product meets new 4.0 standards of the DesignLights Consortium (DLC), which qualifies the product for rebates to shorten the payback period.
  • Passo, which is the company’s revolutionary step light, offers a sealed LED Optical Chamber that eliminates water infiltration, which is the No. 1 cause of light failure. Its advanced LED core uses significantly less energy than traditional fluorescent lamps and it’s available in a choice of two output levels to tailor the desired illuminance for the project. Passo’s faceplates are available in a choice of solid color composite, brushed stainless steel or painted cast aluminum. In addition, the step lights include louver, stainless steel louver, tempered soft glow lens offered in round, square and rectangular shapes for new construction projects, as well as 8-inch and 12-inch rectangular shapes for retrofits. A standard 0-10v dimmable drive provides more integration options with controls.
  • The Chaperone Garage Luminaire is designed to easily replace ceiling-mounted garage fixtures as a complete solution that can be seamlessly integrated with many different control system options so retrofits can be made with no fuss at all. The luminaire is an ideal energy saver, replacing linear fluorescent, HPS and metal halide fixtures decreasing your cost of operations. Chaperone LED fixture features an “instant-on” capability, which means it works when you need it to work. Unlike rival light sources, such as high-pressured sodium (HPS) or metal halide lamps, Chaperone doesn’t require an extended restart time in the event of a momentary power loss. Control options include a line voltage occupancy sensor that provides direct lighting control with the 0-10v LED driver to control energy costs. The product meets DLC standards, which means it qualifies for rebates

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About Amerlux

Amerlux creates bold lighting solutions that add warmth and brilliance to the world. The design-and-manufacture company builds long-term relationships with architects, facility managers and lighting designers by taking every complex problem personally. Its award-winning portfolio includes innovative interior and exterior lighting products that deliver striking aesthetics and rich performance through advanced engineering. For more information, please visit or call 201.416.2284.

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