In 2017, the Village of Schaumburg entered into an agreement with Johnson Controls (JCI) to perform retrofitting of existing street lighting from high pressured sodium (HPS) to LED. The entire project upgraded 4,684 lights to LED. Included in that number are 202 IDOT streetlights that were retrofitted with the American Electric Lighting (AEL) 291 Watt, Autobahn ATB2 luminaries. During snow and ice operations in late January 2021, staff recognized that some streetlights on Golf Road between East Drive and Roosevelt Boulevard changed to a purple hue and were causing a section of roadway to appear purple.
Staff contacted AEL, the supplier of the luminaires, and discussed the situation with the sales representative. During the conversation, staff learned that the purple hue is caused by the failure of the phosphorus coating on the luminaires. The white light that people see is generated from a combination of yellow light coming from yellow phosphorus coating mixed with bluish light emitted by the LED. When the yellow phosphorus coating begins to fail, the light from the luminaire appears bluish or purple.
After learning the cause of this issue, staff found reports of similar problems with AEL LED luminaries occurring in North and South Carolina, Eau Claire, WI, Tampa, FL, and Wichita, KS. In some reports, AEL is quoted as stating that the issue is isolated to luminaries produced between 2017 and 2019, which coincides with the manufactured dates of the failed luminaires found in Schaumburg.
In May, 2021, AEL agreed to replace the failed luminaires with their contractor at no cost to the village. Staff has requested additional data from AEL regarding serial and batch numbers of the failed luminaires and will pursue replacement of any luminaires from the same batch. Staff is currently waiting for the additional data to support AEL’s decision.
Currently, AEL is building 124 replacement luminaries. This is just over 2% of the total LED project. The estimated shipping date is July 16. It is expected that this project, once started, will take several weeks to complete, due to the traffic control required to work these locations and quantity of luminaries involved in the project. Meanwhile, staff will continue monitoring the remaining 78 streetlights for any similar failures.