DEARBORN — Ford Motor Co. has announced it is spending more than $25 million on 25,000 LED lighting fixtures for its manufacturing plants around the world — a move the automaker says will save $7 million a year in energy costs and improve lighting quality.
The fixtures are to be installed over the next few years, and will cut Ford’s energy use by 56 million kilowatt-hours a year — enough energy to power more than 6,000 average homes.
The project was launched in late August at Ford’s Dearborn Truck Plant, where the all-new 2015 Ford F-150 will be assembled beginning later this year.
LEDs will also cut Ford’s ongoing maintenance costs — since LED lighting has a 15-year life expectancy. Studies show LED light output remains steady at less than 1 percent degradation per year over the life of the equipment, while fluorescent and high-intensity fixtures have bulbs that fail in as little as two years.
LED lights also improve safety by eliminating hazardous materials in fixtures and lowering fire risks. At the same time, the technology provides a brighter work area, better uniformity and improved color perception, resulting in a better quality of light for plant employees.
Said John Fleming, Ford’s executive vice president for global manufacturing and labor affairs: “This is a long term investment in our future that highlights our aggressive approach to lead in environmental improvements and achieve operating efficiencies.”
Ford began a program in 2011 to cut its energy use 25 percent per vehicle produced by 2016. The company has hit the 20 percent mark on its way to that goal, according to George Andraos, director of energy and sustainability at Ford Land. The switch to LED lighting helps to ensure Ford will meet its target.
“Moving to LED gives us impressive efficiency improvement,” Andraos said. “Ford worked closely with its scientists and suppliers to investigate and closely follow the rapid development of LED lighting. In 2013, we selected Dialight, a leading LED industrial fixture manufacturer with a global footprint, to develop light fixtures that meet Ford’s global needs.”
Work began at Dearborn Truck Plant late last month to replace worn and outdated overhead lighting. The LED replacement program will continue through the year at 17 other Ford plants, including Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, Ky.; Livonia Transmission Plant in Livonia; the Dearborn Stamping Plant; Essex Engine in Windsor, Ontario; Dagenham Engine Plant in Dagenham, England; and Oakville Assembly in Oakville, Ontario.
Recently, Ford also announced that it will work with DTE Energy to install Michigan’s largest solar carport at its Dearborn headquarters. When completed in early 2015, the project is expected to generate 1.3 million kilowatt-hours a year, enough energy to power more than 150 average homes.