The Light Choice?
More energy-efficient lighting can help to significantly trim operating costs, improve safety and enhance operations.

The essence of lean manufacturing is to do more with less, and one way in which many processing plants are implementing such an approach is through the updating of their internal lighting units. With rising energy costs, many facilities have seen the impact that more efficient offerings can have on their bottom line every month.

When targeting new lighting equipment, this can translate into:

Taking all of these points into consideration also meant that some fixtures did not need all of their bulbs to be put in place for use. This helped reduce costs and maintenance procedures, as well as decrease the downtime often associated with bulb changes.

Similarly, some cities are even transitioning to more energy-efficient lighting. Ann Arbor, MI, for example, intends to become the first U.S. city to convert 100 percent of its downtown streetlights to LED technology over a span of the next three years. Expecting to install more than 1,000 LED streetlights, the city anticipates a 3.8-year payback on its initial investment.

The LED lights typically burn five times longer than the currently installed bulbs and require less than half of the energy. Each fixture draws about 56 W and is projected to last 10 years; the old bulbs used more than 120 W and lasted only two years. Full implementation of the plan is projected to cut Ann Arbor's public lighting energy use in half and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2,425 tons of carbon dioxide annually, which is equivalent to taking 400 cars off the road for an entire year.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 22 percent of the electricity used in the U.S. powers lighting. In a world with soaring energy prices based on the availability and control of fossil fuels, and with growing concern about sustainability, updating your plant's lighting may be a boon to your business.