While Boston’s historic gas-powered street lamps still need to be lit, the 21st century lamplighter looks a lot different then our friend pictured above.
Last week, Michael Doyle and his colleagues from the Boston Public Works Street Lighting Division installed 12 new solar-assisted gas light fixtures on Marlborough Street. This is a test of a new technology designed to save money by having gas street lights turn on when needed, rather than remain on 24 hours a day.
Here’s a closer look at the system as it was being installed. The solar panel charges a battery. A photo sensor tells the system when light is needed, and a control opens the gas valve and lights the lamp. In daylight, the control turns off the gas.
This crew had just come from Thompson Square in Charlestown where they’d installed 8 similar units. According to the Charlestown Patriot-Bridge, the plan to give a solar assist to hundreds of gas lamps throughout the city of Boston is expected to save hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
Officials claim the lamp’s battery can last almost 3 weeks without sunlight and won’t need replacing for at least 5 years. Now, that's a Lamplighter!
Learn more about Boston’s solar-assisted gas lamp project at Going Greener: Gas Lamps Grow More Efficient from the Charlestown Patriot-Bridge.
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Words: Penny & Ed Cherubino
Photography: © 2012 Penny & Ed Cherubino
Illustration: courtesy of the Library of Congress
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