ESG programs have skyrocketed in industries like manufacturing, distribution, logistics, and beyond. Increasing pressures from investors, consumers, and regulatory bodies are driving more and more businesses throughout the supply chain to seek ways to minimize their carbon footprints and contribute to a more sustainable future.
And while these initiatives are critical for us to fight the growing impact of climate change, many facility and EHS teams have been tasked with both executing and verifying on lofty sustainability goals, often without a clear path towards success.
However, one of the most simple and effective ways large C&I facilities can make headway towards their sustainability goals is through enhancing their lighting systems. In this article, we will cover some of the wide-reaching ways that an LED retrofit can play a major role in helping to reach ESG commitments, while also being a profitable investment for the business!
Improve energy efficiency
One of the most low-risk, practical, and impactful investments businesses can make to reduce their carbon footprint is by upgrading their lighting systems to LED.
A simple transition away from older technologies like incandescent, high-pressure sodium (HPS), or fluorescent to energy-efficient LED can have an immediate impact on annual energy consumption. This is because LED technology offers several efficiency advantages like less wasted energy on heat (i.g. incandescent bulbs waste ~90% energy consumed on heat), greater ability to direct light where it’s needed most, greater efficacy (lumens produced per watt consumed), and greater ability to adjust lighting levels with control systems.
PEC customers commonly see an 80%+ reduction in energy their lighting systems consume each year by deploying LED retrofits that are customized for their facilities. Check out some of our projects to what kind of energy gains you could potentially see with a lighting upgrade:
Reduce product waste
LED installations can be designed to direct light precisely where employees need it most — on the workspace and other critical areas. This results in clearer workspaces, more task focus, and less product waste. By delivering the right light for the environment, and often with fewer fixtures, you get a higher return on your energy bill.
In a study conducted by RMI, Boeing found that an LED retrofit in their manufacturing facility led to a 20% reduction in product defect rate as a result of improved visibility in the facility. The report states “One of the tasks performed by machinists in the shop is to attach a panel to a stiffening member using numerous fasteners, which leave very small indentations in the panel. The old lighting had poor contrast and made it difficult to tell if a fastener had been properly attached. With the new lighting, the indentations left by properly attached fasteners are far easier to detect; it improves workers’ ability to detect imperfections in the shop by 20 percent.”
LED bulbs will also last up to 10 times longer (or more!) before burning out — significantly reducing the number of bulbs that need to be disposed of. Some LED fixtures are rated to last 250,000+ hours, compared to CFL’s that have an average life span of 8,000 hours, or incandescent lamps that have an average lifespan of 1,200 hours.
Avoid disposal of harmful chemicals
Some older lighting technologies, like fluorescent tubes or high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps, contain mercury — which is a very toxic heavy metal that can cause a wide array of health issues for people that are exposed to it, even at low levels of exposure. Mercury is also harmful to the environment and can contaminate air, water, or soil — leading to harmful effects on plants, animals and ecosystems.
Because of this harmful property, technologies like fluorescent or HID should be disposed of as hazardous waste. This leads to increased disposal costs, as well as potentially increased scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions due to the energy demands needed for specialized hazardous waste disposal.
Safer work environments (Social goals)
Improved visibility creates improved awareness. Facilities that improved that optimize light levels and ensure they are meeting IES standards can significantly reduce risk of injury, as employees have been show to be more alert and detect hazards substantially faster. Studies have demonstrated that some facilities saw an accident reduction rate of 52%, in addition to a 94% faster trip hazard detection.
One way that PEC helps businesses ensure the light levels are optimized for the space (looking at variables like the tasks performed, reflective surfaces, obstacles like walkways, machines or racking, and more) is through leveraging photometric design plans. With photometric design software, lighting teams can learn exactly what fixtures, optics, and sensors are needed to best achieve bright, consistent, and safe light levels throughout the space without any guesswork.
Measurable and verifiable results
Lighting is often considered “low hanging fruit” for energy efficiency gains, and for good reason! LED retrofits offer substantial reductions in energy consumed each year, while simultaneously driving long-term profitability for the business. Utility providers offer energy consumption data through monthly power bills, allowing ESG management teams to analyze energy trends pre and post lighting upgrade and confidently report on efficiency gains for stakeholders.
Measurement and verification (M&V) is becoming increasingly important for several reasons:
- Increasing regulatory requirements to report on energy consumption;
- Pressures from investors and consumers to report on greenhouse gas emissions;
- Rising costs of power that continues to erode profits, and;
- Demands from partners, suppliers, and buyers looking to capture efficiency gains throughout their supply chains
Investments into LED retrofits allow ESG teams to quickly make strides toward corporate sustainability goals, provide safer environments for employees, easily measure impact to share with stakeholders, and eliminate excessive spending to power outdated systems. That’s a win-win-win-win for the entire company!
Get in touch
Looking to optimize your energy consumption or reach ESG goals of your own? Our team at PEC has helped customer like IKEA, Costco, Epiroc, Alaska Airlines, and more make headway on their sustainability initiatives with high-performing, scalable LED retrofits. See how PEC has helped over 5,000 business displace more than 3 Billion kWh’s consumed.
Request a 15-minute introductory call to learn more about our process, services, and see how we can help make an impact!