Electricity and Lighting
New Hampshire and the region have a long history of dealing with powerful storms that knock out power supplies. A December 2008 ice storm left more than a million state residents without power, some for more than a week. With the potential for increased severe storms and winds, it is prudent to consider a long-term energy-security strategy that would move utilities to an underground system, protecting them from storms, high winds, ice and other potentially damaging effects. While this would occur slowly and over time, it may be cost-effective to do in combination with complete road reconstruction or when other opportunities present themselves.
Exterior lighting is an important design tool for improving safety and security. When done right, lighting can greatly enhance the character of a community. It can highlight architectural details, draw attention to amenities, or celebrate a streetscape. However, overlighting does not translate into increased security, and choosing what not to light is as important as choosing what to light. The ideal streetscape uses the fewest possible fixtures that will provide adequate light.
Other important components to appropriate street lighting are light color, energy efficiency and dark-sky compliance. The night sky can still be enjoyed from downtown Keene on a clear evening. That part of our community character can be preserved by encouraging the use of full-cutoff light fixtures and bulbs that reduce light pollution and reduce energy use. The city's current standards for street lighting should be reviewed to ensure they meet the community's energy, aesthetic, and safety purposes.