THE iconic Penshaw Monument could turn red and white to mark football celebrations such as Sunderland getting to Wembley.
Council bosses are spending £43,000 to install 18 LED floodlights, which will reduce energy costs by up to 80 per cent and save around £8,000 a year in running costs.
The lights will provide a softer white effect, which will show the monument in its true light.
And they can also be programmed to display colour-changing light effects, meaning special anniversaries or events – such as football celebrations – could be highlighted on the monument.
Councillor James Blackburn, portfolio holder for city services at Sunderland City Council, said: “I think there’d be a lot of people very interested in seeing our landmark lit up in red and white for a major footballing celebration. Or perhaps it could be red, white and blue if there’s a big national celebration or occasion that needs commemorating.”
He added: “Many projects in our city see an initial outlay of capital and spending before we see investments paying off.
“We call this ‘invest to save’ and this work on an upgrading of the lights at Penshaw Monument is one of these projects.
“In the long term, there will be savings, a better and more efficient lighting schemes.”
Installation of the lights and new cabling is due to start on Monday and should be finished by the end of the month. The existing lighting has now been switched off.
Kate Horne, communications and engagement officer for the National Trust, which looks after Penshaw Monument, said: “Penshaw Monument has been a distinctive local landmark since it was built 170 years ago, becoming a well loved symbol of ‘home’ for many people. The new lighting will make it even more striking, adding some 21st century glamour which I like to think the first Earl of Durham would have approved of.”
The works are being paid for by a Government Salix loan – an interest-free loan that is paid back within five years with savings from the energy bill. The LED floodlights are expected to see energy consumption drop from more than 75,000 to less than 10,000kwh per year.
Aurora Sunderland Streetlighting Ltd (Balfour Beatty), the council’s streetlighting contractor, is carrying out the new installation works and the removal of the old lighting system which has been in-situ for over 30 years.
Ronnie Barnett, contract manager for Balfour Beatty Aurora, said: “It is an honour to be providing a sustainable lighting solution to illuminate such an iconic Sunderland landmark.”