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US automaker, General Motors reports that the company has installed 186,000 LED bulbs and fixtures at its facilities in the past two years
The LED lighting installation is just one of many energy-saving projects that the company has taken on this year that will save an estimated $73 million in energy costs annually. GM has the ambitious goal of meeting the electricity needs of all of its global operations with 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.

“Energy efficiency can reduce electricity loads, which will help us more easily transition to renewable energy sources,” said Al Hildreth, GM’s global energy manager. “Together, these environmental improvements help us reduce our carbon footprint, cut costs and deliver value back to our customers.” GM points out that sixteen of its facilities recently earned recognition for continued efforts to increase energy efficiency.


  • Defiance Operations replaced fluorescent lighting with 200 LED fixtures throughout the facility. This upgrade helped Defiance reduce energy intensity by over 20 percent in 2 years.
  • Bedford Casting Operations installed translucent walls with a southern exposure, which reduce the need for artificial lighting in the plant. Actions like this helped the facility reduce its energy intensity by 12 percent.
  • Grand Rapids Operations replaced 11,000 lights with LED tubes, which helped the facility reduce energy intensity by 18 percent.

More information can be found at http://www.gm.com

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Increase milk production (an 8 percent) and reduce energy consumption with long day lighting
Research over the past 33 years has shown that long-day lighting (LDL) has a significant positive impact on milk production in dairy cows. LDL refers to increasing the daily light photoperiod for milk herds to 16 to 18 hours at intensity of 15 to 20 foot-candles of light, followed by a dark period of 8 to 6 hours of three foot-candles or less of light. However, Michigan dairy farmers have been unsuccessful in attaining the full benefits of LDL due to technical difficulties in measuring/maintaining light intensity and appropriately controlling the lighting system.


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Wing Acres Dairy LED long-day lighting project

In cooperation with the Michigan Milk Producers Association (MMPA), a long-day lighting project, funded by a grant from the Michigan Energy Office, was initiated by Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering Department researchers at Michigan State University to address the technical difficulties referenced earlier. Using light emitting diode (LED) lights, automated sensors, and an automated control system, a LDL system was created at Wing Acres Dairy that successfully resolved the technical difficulties encountered by Michigan dairies. The LDL system has been fully operational since January 2014.

Wing Acres Dairy is a 100 cow dairy in BarryCounty. Over the past 12 months the dairy experienced an 8 percent increase in milk production. Two factors, farm operational practices and weather conditions, were examined to determine if the increased milk production could be attributed to LDL or something else. An examination of farm operation data from 2012 and 2013 indicated that feed quality, herd size, and animal husbandry practices did not change significantly. In 2014 no changes in management practices were made that affected the milking herd. The impact on milk production of last year’s favorable summer temperatures (i.e. cooler temperatures) was more than countered by the terribly cold winter. Based on MMPA data, member dairies had an average drop in milk production of over 9 percent during the February-to-March 2014 time period, more than negating any potential increase in milk production gained during the cool summer. A look at the 2012-2014 historical milk production records of Wing Acres Dairy showed that the so called “summer production dip” was absent, which is indicative of a well-ventilated cow barn, thus limiting the expected cool summer benefit since the cows were never stressed that much in the first place. One can reasonably conclude then, that the increased milk production at Wing Acres Dairy can be attributed to the LDL system.

Implications of the LED long-day lighting project

By replacing metal halide lights in the barn with LED lights, the owners anticipate at least a 50 percent reduction in lighting expenses. Based solely on increased milk production and with exceptional milk prices for 2014, a payback of just over one year is likely for the whole project. This project demonstrates that the technical difficulty of maintaining consistent light intensity and controlling the lighting system can work under Michigan conditions for small, average dairy operations. An accurate and reliable automated control system is the key to successful long-day lighting management. The calibration/modifications of sensors, monitors, programming and making the various components work together to make adjustments automatically in real time was the toughest challenge of this project. Anecdotally, the dairy farmer has noticed that cows in his milking herd have become more docile and less agitated.

LED lighting

LED lighting provides tremendous advantages over other artificial lights due to its low operating temperatures (82 to 113 degrees Fahrenheit), quick starting time (0 to 1 seconds), good color rendering (DesignLights Consortium required 60 plus color rendering index), long lifespan (over 50,000 hours), white color temperature (4,000 degrees Kalvin and above), lack of mercury in the bulbs, and little lamp lumen depreciation (90 percent and above). LED lights have the benefits of low maintenance, better directionality, high lumen per watt ratings, and good color rendering index (CRI). Additionally LEDs can be dimmed, eliminating the need for additional lights for use during the dark period. LEDs are the only truly dimmable lighting systems in the sense that a corresponding decrease in energy use occurs when the lights are dimmed. Other lighting systems can be dimmed but they still use the same amount of energy even though the light output is reduced. Additional saving in labor and maintenance can be attained due to the longer operational lifespan of LEDs.

Payback for LED lighting appropriate for farm use (dust, dirt, and water proof; physical impact resistance; and capable of extreme temperature operation) based solely on energy efficiency does not yet give a desirable investment payback under normal use due to the higher cost of these upgraded LEDs. However, energy savings combined with increased milk production through a well-managed LDL system makes the purchase of farm use LED lighting and the required control/sensor systems affordable.


This article was published by Michigan State University Extension

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LED Lighting for Loading Docks
Loading docks are often the final connection between a business and the outside world. Yet in spite of the importance of that connection, a business often pays little attention to it as long as it accomplishes the basic function of getting products out of a manufacturing and storage facility and into shipping processes for customers. The safety and efficiency of a loading dock can be dramatically improved, and a business can save substantial resources, when it upgrades or retrofits a loading dock with improved LED lighting.

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LED Lighting for Loading Docks
Consider first the safety of the workers who perform their tasks on loading docks. More than 20,000 loading dock workers are injured annually as a result of poor visibility and weak communications in loading dock operations. Those operations can be a haphazard interplay of truck drivers, forklifts, and workers who are walking in all areas of a loading dock. If any one of those workers is unable to see things around him or to communicate properly with fellow employees, the loading dock will become a minefield of accidents waiting to happen. In this environment, LED lighting systems do more than provide better illumination. Intelligent loading dock LED Lighting systems can be integrated with sensors to detect movement and to signal other workers with warning lights that can keep them out of harm’s way. This is particularly valuable when shipping containers or pallets are blocking lines of sight. The rapid on-off capabilities of LED lights and their ability to be integrated with intelligent sensing systems makes LED’s superior to traditional metal halide or high-pressure sodium lighting for this function.

Sensor-triggered LED lighting on loading docks can also be configured to improve communications between truck drivers and dock workers with respect to when a truck trailer is engaged and safe for loading and unloading. Many accidents happen when lift truck operators initiate loading and unloading activities when they assume that a trailer is fully dock-engaged. LED systems can improve the visual communication between truck drivers and loading operators.

Loading Dock LED Lighting Improves Working Conditions
LED lighting can also be tuned to better replicate natural lighting conditions, which makes it easier for loading dock employees to see fine product features and to read labels and other identifiers on shipments. This can also reduce dock worker fatigue and reduce headaches and eyestrain from overly-bright or harsh lighting. More alert workers who feel better while performing their jobs will also be less susceptible to accidents and errors.

Apart from these all-important safety features, loading docks that upgrade or retrofit to LED lighting systems will save substantial amounts of operating overhead and maintenance costs. LED lights generate the same or better illumination levels as traditional industrial lighting fixtures with less than half of the energy input. Next generation LED luminaires can provide more than 50,000 hours of continuous operations without requiring replacement, and in some cases up to 100,000 hours of continuous lighting with no degradation in light quality. LED systems that are integrated with sensing controls can also shut down areas of dock lighting when no loading activities are occurring in those areas, thus saving additional operating costs.

Source: specgradeled

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Intelligent Lighting Controls for Warehouse Environments
Modern warehouses pose unique challenges for lighting system designers and engineers. They are often much larger than their forebears, often covering more than one hundred thousand square feet. Warehouse employees are monitored with logistics and tracking systems, which can require them to perform tasks with few or no errors over the course of an eight- to ten-hour shift. Those employees also share warehouse floors with forklifts and other machinery, exposing them to potential safety hazards when their attention spans lag throughout a long shift. Finally, warehouse operators are under increasing pressure to reduce overhead and other costs associated with their warehouses. In all cases, intelligent lighting controls and LED lighting systems can provide the best responses to these challenges.

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High-intensity discharge (HID) lamps have been the traditional choice for warehouse lighting for many years. HID lighting fixtures, however, are not amenable to dimming or other easy controls, and require time to come to full intensity after first being charged. By contract, LED fixtures come to full intensity almost immediately.

Most modern LED fixtures are dimmable within a 0 to 10 volt range, and can be controlled with motion sensing technology that brings them to full illumination when an employee is near them while dimming when employees are away. LED lighting systems require less electricity to generate the same illumination as HID lights, which makes LED’s a more economical choice for a warehouse that seeks to reduce operating and overhead costs. In combination with an intelligent dimming system, LED lights can save a warehouse even greater amounts of money.

LED lighting systems also allow for better correlated color temperatures (CCT’s) that improves visibility in active warehouse settings. Employees have the best visual acuity when they work in natural light settings. Warehouses are not able to rely on natural light, particularly if they have twenty-four hour operations, but LED’s can be controlled and modified throughout each twenty-four hour period to best replicate natural light conditions. With optimum CCT adjustments, warehouse employees will see labels and other packaging identifiers, will make fewer mistakes, and will perform in a safer environment.

Intelligent Lighting Controls for Warehouse Environments
Intelligent warehouse lighting control systems generally include four elements that account for their popularity in modern warehouses:

  • First, they include intelligent distributed control systems that determine where and when light will be provided in a warehouse. Distributing light and directing power only to those fixtures that are required to be lit will lead to substantial cost savings in every warehouse operation.
  • Second, they will include a broad range of LED fixtures to provide the best CCT lighting throughout a warehouse.
  • Third, they include sensors that react to environmental conditions and activity in different areas of a warehouse. These sensors will also be connected to software monitoring systems that give a warehouse operator a regular picture of how light is being used and distributed through a warehouse.
  • Fourth, they network LED lights in a manner that allows fixtures to communicate and respond to different lighting demands with a maximum of efficiency across an array of those fixtures.

Source: specgradeled

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