With the installation of these Cree LED fixtures, the three campuses are saving almost 475,000 watts annually (a 49 percent reduction) and roughly $160,000 in energy costs. Carbon emissions have been reduced by more than half since replacing the fluorescents. Maintenance costs have likewise been significantly reduced — by some $7,500 a year, according to Gerry Knowles of Cree facilities engineering. And because Cree operates a 24x7 manufacturing line, the elimination of production idle time due to lighting maintenance has an immediate and positive impact on the bottom line.
Equally important has been the improvement in employee morale and productivity. The Cree LED lights have been very beneficial in creating a better work environment for employees. The LED lighting reduces glare and optimizes the lighting distribution, minimizing eye strain and improving overall office ergonomics.
According to Joy Clark, Cree Human Resources: “We’ve heard several employees comment on the quality of the new lighting, and how the brighter light is so much easier on the eyes. It feels like daylight inside, so they feel more alert than in traditional work environments.”
Since the 2009 installation, exterior maintenance calls are near zero — a significant improvement from the one to two calls per week prior to the Cree lighting installation. Another primary benefit of the exterior Cree LED fixtures is enhanced security in the parking lots. The uniform, shadow-free illumination improves nighttime visibility, creating a safer environment for employees and visitors. “LED lighting is great for security applications,” says Emergency Operations Manager Scott Peckenpaugh, “because it decreases the amount of areas that may have uneven or inadequate lighting.
“LED lighting is also very ‘white,’ allowing easy identification of suspicious activity. Standard lighting fades the farther away from the light source and has a yellow tint that makes identifying activity more difficult.” Peckenpaugh says he has received numerous positive comments from fellow security professionals who have seen the before-and-after installation photos.
As Clark states: “The safety of our employees is a primary concern for Cree. With the outdoor lighting upgrade to Cree LED fixtures, the nighttime visibility has noticeably improved on our campuses. One of our accounting employees who routinely works late hours commented on how secure she felt walking to her car in the evenings under the Cree lights. That’s something we like to hear.”
Saving money while at the same time improving productivity and safety — Cree’s campuses are a real-world example of how their LED lighting is a win-win proposition for facility managers.