JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- St. Augustine did it. In the parking garage downtown, the city replaced regular light bulbs with LED, motion-sensored lights. They're saving taxpayers a bundle on energy costs: $50,000 a year to be exact, $3,000 in the first month alone.
The man behind that plan is now proposing Jacksonville do the same thing.
"I absolutely think this could work here," said Bryan Shaffer.
Shaffer is the electrical engineer who designed the lighting system in St. Augustine. He says the benefits of changing to LED lights are endless. They use less energy. They last a lot longer.
"The average life span of LED lighting is about 20 to 30 years," said Shaffer.
Plus, the system in St. Augustine is on a motion sensor. The bulbs stay dimmed, until a car drives by, then they go to full power.
Shaffer said, "That's the key, is where you can bundle the energy savings of the LED's along with the controls to dim the lights down when they're not being used or they're not needed."
The city of St. Augustine had to pay $68,000 for the system. But the bulk of it was paid for with a federal grant. Shaffer says it's money taxpayers will recoup in no time at all.
"They're going to pay for their portion of the project in about a year and a half. And after that everything goes to their bottom line."
Shaffer has contacted city officials about the idea. He hasn't heard back just yet. But we have. Action News obtained a statement from a city spokesperson saying, "We will consider any idea that would save taxpayer dollars. Mayor Brown is committed to energy conservation and to making our public buildings as cost efficient as possible."
The city also told us it has made some greener, cheaper moves recently. It installed a new chiller system in the Ed Ball Building that will save $100,000 a year in energy costs. It also installed occupancy sensors in several city buildings to automatically turn off lights in unused rooms.