City of Oviedo working on new sustainability projects

Oviedo is working on a number of sustainability projects to help it move toward higher energy efficiency as it continues to grow, including updated lighting in key areas.

Bright changes may be on the way to highly trafficked areas in Oviedo.

The city is working on a number of sustainability projects to help it move toward higher energy efficiency as it continues to grow, including updated lighting in key areas.

As part of a partnership with Duke Energy One, the city would update the streetlights at Oviedo on the Park, street and parking lot lights and indoor lights at the City Hall complex, and parking lot lights at the Oviedo Aquatic Center and the Oviedo Sports Complex.

The plan was presented to the city’s Sustainability Task Force on Aug. 8, with hopes to bring it in front of City Council for approval in September. 

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“Once we get the agreement in place, the program’s actually going to go pretty quick,” said Paul Belden, Oviedo’s Recreation and Parks director. “Three-to-four-week turnaround time to order the equipment and then three to four weeks to install. … So we’re probably looking at a two-month process [following the approval and agreement].”

What’s the cost?

The project, which would replace 800 lights, including all 129 existing older lights at Oviedo on the Park, with new LED versions, would not lead the city to incur any upfront costs, and energy savings would offset the monthly costs and maintenance for them, Belden said. 

“That’s what intrigued the city,” Belden said. “They calculated our current usage versus what the savings would come to with the retrofit or change out of light fixtures to generate our cost savings as well as what our costs would be.”

Duke Energy One determined that the monthly savings of $1,783 would equal the cost of the program, resulting in a net-zero cost change to the city.

The upgrades would help in the city’s move toward using 100% renewable energy by 2050.

“This is a part of that big horizon,” Oviedo Director of Development Services Teresa Correa said. “This is a huge, big step, having the LED [lights].”

A photo of the Oviedo on the Park Marina and Cantina.
Oviedo is working toward upgrading its lighting in key areas, such as Oviedo on the Park. Photo by Cari Hicken.

LED, or light-emitting diode, bulbs are more efficient than incandescent and other types of bulbs because they emit light in specific directions, giving off very little heat and lasting up to 30 times longer than an incandescent bulb, according to the United States Department of Energy’s website.

In addition to the energy updates, the new lights will also be beneficial for those who visit the facilities. Many of the current lights either do not work or need regular repair.

“We have street lights that have been out, off and on, throughout Center Lake Park, and not only does it create dark spots which could potentially create safety liability issues for pedestrians or children, we also have maintenance issues because our staff is now having to go out there,” Belden said.

In addition to Center Lake Park, there are exterior lights out at the main entrance of the Aquatic Center, and regular outages in the parking lots at the Oviedo Sports Complex, which sees “up to 200 cars on any given night or on the weekend,” Belden said. 

“It’s just something that we’re trying to maintain at a higher level, and this is one way to help us get there,” he said. “We are targeting the high-profile areas.”

The 10-year agreement would also include maintenance on the new fixtures, which would provide about an additional $4,000 in savings for the city. If the project goes forward and the city sees marked improvements, other facilities, such as Public Works, Riverside Park and Shane Kelly Park, could see the same upgrades in a second phase, Belden said.

The idea for the project arose while applying for an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) of more than $70,000. While that grant has not yet been determined, if it does go through, the money can be used for other energy-efficient projects, such as HVAC updates throughout city facilities.

“We always like to have all options on the table,” Belden said.

Cars line up at the State Road 436 and Mitchell Hammock Road intersection.
The city is considering adding quick-time charging stations to help people fuel up in Oviedo. Photo by Cari Hicken.

Other sustainable projects in the works

As the city continues its focus on sustainability, other environmentally friendly projects are being discussed and planned.

Among the largest of these include adding at least eight new electric vehicle DC fast chargers throughout the city. The DC fast chargers can charge a battery-powered electric vehicle to 80% from empty in one hour or less, as compared to a Level 2 charger taking 4-10 hours and a Level 1 charger taking up to 50 hours for the same charge, according to the Department of Transportation.

The city has submitted its application for a $1 million Department of Transportation’s Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Discretionary Grant Program, with a $200,000 city match, for the installation of the chargers. If awarded, it would add to the handful of public chargers throughout the city. 

“Obviously, the city is always going to look for that type of federal funding partner,” Assistant City Manager Patrick Kelly said. “If we can get $1 million worth of charging infrastructure for $200,000, that’s something we do take a hard look at.”

The city had previously partnered with Duke Energy in the Park and Plug Program, where three chargers were installed at Center Lake Park and two at City Hall, according to Kelly.

“We want to increase capacity,” he said. “We have heard from [residents] that there are not enough fast chargers in the area.”

If the city receives the grant, the proposed locations are: two chargers each at Center Lake Park, Oviedo Gym and Aquatic Center, and Twin Rivers Golf Course, and one each at Boston Hill Park and Mike Roberto Way.

In addition to the grant, the city has requirements for developers looking to build commercial properties with more than 50 parking spaces to have at least one EV charging station that feeds two spaces, Correa said. 

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