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Cree Lighting: Building for a Better Environment

Have you ever considered how environmentally friendly your LED luminaire manufacturer is? Our purchases, in part, endorse not only products, but also the way these products are brought to market – good or bad.

Better Friend of the Environment Insights Post
Published on: 12/8/2022

For many purchasers of light, energy savings, and more importantly the economic benefit that brings, as well as product cost, are the primary factors in determining a product selection. But for the more environmentally-conscience consumer, energy savings are table stakes, and product cost is balanced with the overall product value delivered, including environmental value.

Environmentally-speaking, consuming less energy certainly delivers environmental good. In addition, eliminating the creation and use of mercury-based legacy lamps, and their potential harm at the end of their useful life, also delivers environment good. But why stop there? Have you ever considered how environmentally friendly your LED luminaire manufacturer is? It’s likely manufacturers in this space will have varying philosophies and commitment to the environment. And whether we recognize it or not, our purchases, in part, endorse not only products, but also the way these products are brought to market – good or bad.  

At Cree Lighting we are not only committed to providing high-value lighting solutions that deliver environmental good, but also to responsibly managing our environmental impact in doing so. This includes being ISO14001:2015 certified, which helps ensure compliance with environmental legislation, while continually improving our environmental performance. It also includes actively working to reduce our environmental footprint as it relates to energy usage, waste reduction and recycling.

Speaking of waste reduction, Cree Lighting is TRUE Zero Waste Certified (Silver Level). TRUE is a zero-waste certification program dedicated to measuring, improving and recognizing zero waste performance. As TRUE certified, Cree Lighting documented and demonstrated, over a 12-month period, greater than 95% diversion from landfills for all possible solid, non-hazardous waste that entered its facility. This was achieved through aggressive recycling efforts, as well as environmentally-improving our supplier chain. TRUE is an ongoing commitment and requires waste diversion data be submitted every 12 months to confirm goals are continually being met to maintain certification, which Cree Lighting does.

In addition to ISO 14001:2015, Cree Lighting is also recognized as DOE 50001 Ready through the Department of Energy (DOE). 50001 Ready establishes an energy management system within a facility, and helps businesses better manage their energy use, as well as look for improvement opportunities around energy consumption and sustainability. An example of a recent sustainability project Cree Lighting undertook included a partnership with its local energy provider, We Energies. In this partnership, We Energies is leasing roof space at the Cree Lighting facility and has installed a large array of solar panels. This project is responsible for putting more solar energy to the grid than any other installation in Racine County where Cree Lighting’s facility is located.

To help engage the entire organization around the environment, Cree Lighting also has a Green Team. Cree Lighting’s Green Team is made up of volunteer employees tasked with promoting and helping drive recycling efforts companywide. Cindy Buehmann, a member and leader of Cree Lighting’s Green Team states, “The Green Team helps connect our business and employees to achieve shared environmental goals. It layers on top of the environmental good our products deliver across the country, with being environmentally-responsible in our own community.” One example of a Green Team initiative was a recycling day which allowed employees to bring in items from home, such as electronics, to be responsibly recycled.

Lastly, much of the needed supply chain that supports Cree Lighting branded products is sourced locally from the region. “We have the advantage of having many capable partners in the region”, said Mike Ripper, President – Cree Lighting. “This means we get the quality we need, but also the benefit of reduced transit times. Certainly, from an environmental standpoint, shorter travel distances also mean less energy consumption, and the environmental benefit that delivers. Since we primarily sell in North America, we feel when customers choose us, they are choosing to buy local. This allows us to build and put great products in the hands of our customers, while delivering both economic value and environmental good.”

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