ROCHESTER — The Rochester School District is upgrading close to 6,000 lighting fixtures as it converts to LED lighting.

Director of Facilities David Totty said the move will save the district about $120,000 a year in electricity bills and dramatically reduce carbon emissions.

“It’s like we retired 112 gas burning vehicles from the roadways,” Totty said of the emissions decrease associated with using less electricity.

Totty said he has been working to get the district to make the switch for years and now the price of LED technology makes both environmental and economic sense.

Installing LED lighting means the district will no longer be using fluorescent bulbs. Totty calls fluorescent bulbs an “environmental nightmare” because they contain mercury.

“Getting rid of the mercury is another great benefit to LED lighting,” Totty said.

The switch will cost $1.1 million, which is offset by a rebate program from Eversource in the amount of $400,000. All the lighting fixtures are being assembled by U.S. military veterans who work for Affinity LED Lighting in Dover.

Mark Toussaint, an energy efficiency consultant at Eversource, said they have done numerous LED conversions throughout the state for homeowners, businesses and municipalities.

Rochester has also retro-fitted municipally owned streetlights using the NHSaves rebate program which is run by Eversource, Liberty Utilities, New Hampshire Electric Co-op and Unitil, Toussaint said.

“We’re hoping to help customers do the things they need to do with only the amount of power they need to consume,” Toussaint said.

The lighting conversion at Spaulding High School is nearly complete, and crews were replacing an average of 230 bulbs a night at Rochester Middle School last week.

All buildings affected by the conversion should be finished in early 2019.

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