The Aleutian Islands stretch from Alaska's mainland to Russia's backdoor and are known for their harsh weather, excellent fishing, and spectacular beauty. Akutan, Alaska, is a remote community of 1,027 people and no paved roads. It is located on Akutan Island, more than 750 air miles southwest of Anchorage, Alaska, in the Aleutian Chain, and is accessible via seaplane and boat only. Akutan is situated just across the Akutan Pass from Dutch Harbor on Unalaska Island, where the Discovery Channel's "The Deadliest Catch" is filmed. Akutan's weather includes wind and salt spray characteristic of the Aleutian Islands. There are no electric utility linemen on the island, so an expert must be dispatched to Akutan every time a light needs to be replaced.
Akutan relies on its own diesel-powered generators to create electricity for homes, schools, churches, and other buildings. Many Alaskan villages have boardwalks to facilitate transportation between buildings over wetlands where there are no roads. As part of their effort to conserve energy, the City of Akutan worked with Sharon Poston, energy systems senior project coordinator at Marsh Creek, LLC, the organization that represents Evolucia lighting throughout Alaska. With Poston's guidance, the city chose to upgrade its boardwalk lighting with Evolucia Aimed Optics LED street lighting fixtures from Evolucia Inc. According to Evolucia, the cobra head LED products installed on Akutan expect to be virtually maintenance free for more than seven years. Wasilla, Alaska-based electrical contractor Current River Electric had the new fixtures all installed within a few days.
"Besides the excellent energy savings, the fixtures helped solve some difficult challenges,” said Poston. “The traditional 150W high-pressure sodium (HPS) lights failed often, and in Akutan's harsh climate it was difficult and dangerous to change bulbs in high winds, cold temperatures, and poor visibility."
Akutan's economy is largely based on fishing and the boardwalk serves as an important main thoroughfare in the town. With a small population, the savings will have a positive impact on the annual budget and the city's bottom line. This new LED lighting expects to save the community almost 67% annually in diesel costs. Evolucia Aimed Optics LED street lights provide Akutan residents more light and improved nighttime illumination, shining precisely where they need it, all while saving approximately 1,742 gallons of diesel fuel annually. There is virtually no light spillage or light pollution because, Evolucia's proprietary Aimed Optics platform directs the light precisely where it is most needed.
Unique to Akutan is the extreme weather conditions, with an average high of 55F degrees in the summer and an average low of 22F degrees in the winter-this community deals with cold temperatures well below freezing for a good part of the year. The fall and winter months offer very short daylight demanding consistent lighting nearly 24 hours a day. All of these climate issues make long life and low-maintenance essential for keeping the lights operating effectively and efficiently.
"As winter begins in the lower 48 states, it is good to know that the Evolucia Aimed Optics cobra head street lighting fixtures are built to withstand even the harshest weather conditions," said Mel Interiano, CEO, Evolucia Inc, "The Akutan installation demonstrates that our products are well suited for other northern climates in regions of the United States, Canada, Scandinavia, Russia, and China."