Torreón Plant Receives Recognition from Mexican Government for Environmental Efforts
The Essex Furukawa facility in Torreón, Mexico was one of just 26 recently...
It was like a light bulb went off. And they all did. Literally.
Essex Furukawa, through its on-going investment in holistic sustainability and Vision 2030, has begun replacing its fluorescent lighting with more energy efficient LEDs in its plants and office buildings across North America, Europe, and Asia. Many of the lights are installed with a motion sensor that automatically dims lights to 50% if it does not detect movement for 10 minutes. It then shuts off completely with five additional minutes of inactivity.
Greg Bosk, the Energy Technology Engineer for Essex Furukawa in North America, said that three simple reasons earned this project… the green light.
“First, it is more environmentally friendly,” Bosk said. “Coupled with a long-life span and employee satisfaction, it made sense. Becoming more environmentally responsible can come in small steps. This was another step on the journey.”
The changes allow Essex Furukawa to control and manage large areas automatically as the company replaced the outdated, 144-watt fluorescent light fixtures, with a 48-watt LED light fixture in North America—Germany and Japan had similar inefficient fluorescent lighting systems.
Use of LED lights comes with additional benefits: they are environmentally friendly because they use less electricity; they are brighter; and they have been rated to last between 50,000 and 100,000 hours—fluorescent bulbs generally last just 10,000. The light from LEDs also produce less heat, allowing for savings on air conditioning.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, LEDs can use up to 75% less power. The agency also estimates—as more retrofits and new installations use LED technology—energy savings from LED lighting could top 569 TWh annually by 2035. The figure is equal to the annual energy output of almost a hundred, 1,000 MWh power plants.
Bosk also used the time to reconfigure old grids and increase efficiency.
“A lot of our lighting layouts have been around for years and have become dated, inefficient, and out of place” he said. “LEDs are brighter, and in some instances are a more effective lighting source. They also allowed for a reduction of the number of light fixtures needed in the space.”
One project that is more dependent on Mother Nature than most is the uncovering of windows at the Fort Wayne magnet wire plant.
Bosk has been working with the maintenance staff over the last two years to rehab the old, blacked-out windows, removing years of paint to let natural light shine down onto the plant floors.
“Whoever built the buildings knew what they were doing because that’s the purpose for all this light that we’re getting,” he said, and then joked: “Hopefully I can keep going in the window repair business.”
Globally Essex Furukawa has set Vision 2030 goals to reduce energy consumption by 10% and source 32% of our energy usage from renewables.
Natural lighting solutions—where applicable—can help facilities meet those numbers.