Ford has demonstrated an interest in greening some of its vehicles by using recyclable materials, and making some parts of them recyclable. Investments have also been made in the production of hybrids such as the Fusion and C-Max, and plug-in (Energi) versions of those. There is also the Focus Electric, which only uses electricity.
Now Ford is turning attention to greening its manufacturing facilities. All of them will get LED lights — that’s 25,000 new LED lights to the tune of $25 million dollars. That seems like a lot of money doesn’t it?
However, Ford expects to save about seven million a year, once all the new LEDS have been installed and the old fluorescent bulbs and high-intensity discharge lights are no longer sucking up energy. In fact, Ford has estimated the improved energy efficiency will save about 56 million kilowatt-hours per year. Maintenance costs will be lower as well, because the new lights are expected to last longer — about 15 years.
“We are extremely pleased to install this leading-edge technology in our manufacturing facilities worldwide. This is a long-term investment in our future that highlights our aggressive approach to lead in environmental improvements and achieve operating efficiencies,” said John Fleming, an executive in Global Manufacturing and Labor Affairs.
Another plus is the fact Ford is supporting another technology company — Dialight — by buying their LEDS in large quantities. Dialight is known for creating energy-efficient lighting systems for industrial applications. In 2010, the company was given an award for one of its innovative warehouse lights.
Ford is also reducing CO2 emissions by switching to more-efficient lighting. This is a long quote from a Carnegie Mellon study paper, but it’s relevant and worth reading.
The International Energy Agency (IEA)  has estimated that worldwide lighting is responsible for emissions of approximately 1900 Mt CO2 per year, equivalent to 70% of the emissions from the world’s light passenger vehicles.
Eighty percent of these emissions from lighting are associated with electricity generation, but the IEA estimates that about 20% come from the 1% of global lighting that is produced by the direct combustion of paraffin and oil lamps used by the 1.6 billion people who have no access to electricity . Hence, dramatically improved lighting system efficiency, together with electrification that replaces oil lamps with electric lamps, could make a big contribution to controlling global CO2 emissions. A large literature illustrates the cost-effectiveness of greenhouse gas mitigation through the use of energy efficient technologies such as improved lighting –.
Another benefit to a company-wide switch to LEDs is that it demonstrates a company culture that is committed to its values. In other words, when leadership defines a value for its company culture, it helps to generate trust and respect among employees when leaders follow through on those values with their actions. A common way of saying it is “You have to walk the talk,” and it seems that Ford is doing that by investing so much in LEDS for their facilities.
It will also be interesting to see if there is a potential ripple effect to then invest more in solar power. Once total electricity consumption has been reduced, it might seem more feasible to add the new more affordable solar power systems, because it would no longer be necessary to consume at high levels. Energy reduction using LEDS isn’t the most exciting kind of technology to employ, but it sure can be effective.
Image Credit: Dave Parker