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City of Sandy, OR

 Sandy, OR  Outdoor lighting

Located west of Mount Hood in the foothills of the Cascade Mountain Range, the City of Sandy,
Oregon made the decision to convert from HPS to Cree Lighting’s RSW Series LED Street Lights.


Located west of Mount Hood in the foothills of the Cascade Mountain Range, the City of Sandy, Oregon made the decision to convert its outdated, inefficient high pressure sodium street lights — approximately 1,000 citywide — to long-lasting, highly efficient LED luminaires.

The city saw the conversion as a means to continue its sustainability initiatives, provide savings for local taxpayers, improve illumination for vehicle and pedestrian activity, and become fully compliant with its dark-sky ordinance. The decision was further incentivized after a new rate structure was put in place by local utility Portland General Electric (PGE) for customers using LED technology.

“After PGE converted the street lights they own within the city’s limits, we began to take a closer look at what was involved to do the same,” said Mike Walker, Public Works Director for the City of Sandy, Oregon. “The benefits certainly outweighed any concerns, but there were still some administrative items that we had to deal with to get the project up and running.” PGE provides three options for the municipality’s street and outdoor lighting purposes:

• Option A: PGE owned and maintained
• Option B: Municipality owned and PGE maintained
• Option C: Municipality owned and maintained

For years, the City of Sandy operated under option B. After conducting their due diligence, Walker and city leaders made the decision to switch to option C. This gave the city full control over the project and the ability to realize the full benefits that an LED conversion would provide. The City of Sandy was now ready to commence with the project.


Through their Portland, Oregon team, design/build company McKinstry responded to the city’s RFP and was awarded the contract to provide design-build services for the project. One of the key components of their performance contracting services was to identify the best LED luminaire that fit the city’s requirements such as light quality, high efficiency and reliability, low maintenance, future readiness, dark-sky compliance and wildlife-friendly to name a few.

As the team reviewed LED lighting solutions, they worked with Cree Lighting’s agent Jonathan Schwenke, LP, principal at Form Lighting and Controls, who introduced them to the RSW Series Street Luminaire. Designed with WaveMax® Technology, the RSW Series delivers market-leading color quality and efficacy while providing enhanced visual comfort with reduced glare and high color contrast. Offered in both warmer (2700K or 3000K) or cooler (4000K or 5000K) color temperatures with excellent color rendering (CRI up to 80), the RSW Series LED Street Light with WaveMax® Technology delivers visually comfortable light with exceptional uniformity, high efficiency and precise optical control. So the city has the proper level of light where it is needed and accurate color that results in a more comfortable experience for the public without sacrificing public safety or negatively impacting neighborhoods.

“After reviewing LED options, we chose Cree Lighting’s RSW Series because of its quality of light, reduction in glare, and high lumen count and lumen maintenance,” said Walker. “Cree Lighting’s 10-year warranty was also a big factor in the decisionmaking. While the savings incurred from an LED conversion provide a good return on investment, there is still a significant investment that the city needed to make. The fact that Cree Lighting stands behind the reliability of their product with a 10- year warranty provided extra peace of mind on the project.”


Between August and December of 2020, Portland-based electrical contractor Christenson Electric installed the RSW Series luminaires throughout the city’s downtown business district, main arteries and residential neighborhoods.

As a result of the LED conversion, the city is expected to reduce its street lighting energy consumption by 58% and realize an annual savings of approximately $68,000 based on reduced energy and operational costs. The city is also tracking reduction in kilowatt hours for $44,750 in Energy Trust of Oregon utility rebates.

“By all accounts the project has been a great success,” said Walker. “Now that the new luminaires have been installed and you can see the quality of the street lighting throughout the city, we know we made the right decision to install Cree Lighting’s RSW Series.”

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