The first LED lights were developed in 1962 and started being installed by the mid-2000s to the benefit of commercial and industrial businesses. One of the most cost-effective energy efficiency upgrades available to facilities, LED lighting has a longer lifespan and higher lumen output than its predecessors: incandescent, fluorescent and H.I.D. Although thousands of companies have implemented LED lighting solutions over the last 20 years, we still walk into building after building wasting energy and overall capital spend on old, inefficient lighting. While its lifespan and energy use are clear gains to installing LED lighting, one benefit still being researched today is the relationship between LED lighting and productivity.
I probably heard the term “5G” mentioned over 50 times at CAPRE’s Boston data center event. A hot topic for the industry, the introduction of 5G networks will impact data centers across the board, from enterprise and colos to facilities and IT. An event developed for the local Boston data center community, CAPRE featured sessions targeting current solutions or issues affecting data centers both locally and nationally. Speakers addressed topics such as the impact of 5G, how liquid cooling may play a role in future operations and whether we’ve hit capacity for new data center builds, among others. Here are some of the insights I took away from the event.
Deep in the New Hampshire woods, a manufacturing facility creates some of the finest chocolate on the shelf. Committed to delivering excellence, this production facility is also aware of their environmental impact and working conditions, which led them to consider energy efficiency measures. This project was an LED lighting upgrade in one of the production facilities on site. However, as with many high-ceiling projects, such as manufacturing sites or warehouses, we were challenged by limited clearance above the drop ceiling when installing the fixtures into a space full of other piping and an existing lighting layout – all of this over active manufacturing equipment. Here’s how we completed this project.
A custom-engineered hot water boiler upgrade is saving one of our Cambridge, MA-based customers over $140,000 annually. Energy services – like LED lighting upgrades, data center mechanical optimization or building management system improvements – that include boiler retrofits, are designed to be attractive to both finance and facilities teams. The best-designed energy services projects improve facility operations on site, prove back their ROI within a reasonable payback period (typically 2-5 years, though some of our best projects have come in close to 1-year payback) and of course: save energy. At this luxury condo site in Massachusetts, our energy services focused on HVAC and mechanical savings.
I sat down with Ross Fairbanks, our COO, to talk about LIGHTFAIR 2019 and what we experienced from the event as a company. We’ve both been to 10+ years of LIGHTFAIRs over time so it’s always interesting to compare them, year to year. For 2019, we brought several members of our lighting team and caught up with multiple partners and customers at the event. Ross and I both agreed, the relationship-building element of the show was definitely a highlight this year. Here are some of our other takeaways.
The ability to control and automate building systems, including HVAC, is an obvious gain for a facility manager. HVAC systems form a critical component of any facility’s purpose and are responsible for several key functions, several of which are especially important for pharmaceutical facilities. Because HVAC enables production, pharmaceutical or otherwise, careful design and maintenance are of utmost importance. A big part of this includes the controls system.
Higher ed facilities are an ideal candidate for LED lighting and controls projects. Campuses often have outdated facilities and institutions are committed to engaging in sustainable practices along with saving overhead costs wherever possible. A LED lighting and lighting controls project is one of the simplest ways for a higher ed facility to fulfill these commitments, start saving energy and lower their energy bills with assistance from qualified utility incentives that can significantly lower the out-of-pocket cost of a project. This was the case for a New England-based university who was interested in upgrading the lighting in their chemistry building.