Sustainability, The Buzzword of the Times
Sustainability is the buzzword of the times. As with many buzzwords, its meaning has become replaced by a generalized concept. In this instance, it has been replaced by the image of tree-hugging greenies eating legumes and cauliflower crust vegan pizzas. (YUM, by the way!) But sustainability does have its place in the corporate world which goes beyond environmental benefits. It can have a huge impact on profits, productivity, the social well-being of employees, and the company’s competitiveness. Working at an LED company, it is often understood that there are some real benefits to certain sustainable practices and the pursuit of innovative solutions. A focus on dematerialization and true energy efficiency is common in all of Lighting Science‘s designs. As an LED manufacturer, this means offering consumers an alternative to often energy intensive lighting choices, which can benefit a consumer by reducing their carbon footprint and energy consumption by as much as 80%. An LEDs extended lifespan is also significant, as it translates directly to less materials required to provide a lighting solution that is proven to last longer than any of it’s competitors. LEDs are safer, and are manufactured containing no harmful chemicals, such as lead or mercury. While some of these ideas are things that are familiar in a sustainability discussion, sustainability often has a softer side, addressing both qualitative and quantitative benefits. LED lighting can support both these pursuits.
Sustainability isn’t just about elevating the quality of the natural world. It is truly a three part concept which is comprised of economic, social and environmental benefits. With that in mind, health and well-being is an integral, overlapping part of balancing the sustainability triangle.
As many sustainable certification programs, such as LEED, Envision or WELL can attest, creating a healthy environment for employees to work in is important to workplace sustainability and overall social happiness and well-being. Proper ventilation, air quality, appropriate humidity levels, biological and/or LED lighting and glare control can help craft a more pleasant and healthful work environment. Lighting Science’s has several LED products can contribute to healthy workplace environments. We manufacture an entire line of HealthE™ biological lighting that can help relax or energize you naturally- enhancing workplace productivity and well-being. Imagine office lighting that is easily controlled through a smart phone or wireless controller, allowing users to manipulate intensity, blue spectrum exposure, or color rendering to create customized environments suitable to their needs, from calming light to energizing for higher productivity and focus. Embedded technology within lighting fixtures can alert you when your air quality is poor. The dynamic digitalized technology of LEDs allows the capability of multiple health-focused technologies to coalesce into a single form, creating interior benefits for buildings and workspaces.
There are many ways to create a culture of sustainability within organizations that can improve the triple bottom line, however retrofitting an office with tunable spectrum, multi-functional LEDs can demonstrate a commitment to sustainability and is a demonstration of prioritizing energy reduction, material reduction and reduced consumerism via the long lifespan of LEDs, as well as supporting the health and well-being of employees within the office through new multi-functional technologies. Communicating the impact of LEDs and the purpose of switching to LEDs sends a message to employees and can be a great first step in creating a culture of sustainability within an organization. It demonstrates a focus on environmental conservation, economic investment in energy savings, and employee well-being. When this message is communicated effectively, it can lay the groundwork for creating a culture of sustainability and community for your employees, and a sense of identity and pride associated with their job. By prioritizing sustainability and weaving it into daily activities within the workplace, a sense of teamwork, collaboration and oneness prospers. This is beneficial to the overall sustainability of an organization, as developing culture in an organization is an important part of obtaining and maintaining motivated and driven employees, and as a result, increasing an organization’s competitiveness.
Any organization pursuing sustainability should be cognizant of its overall impact and footprint on a global level. For example, LEDs are known to reduce energy consumption which directly translates to dollars saved on energy bills. But if we dive a little deeper into the global impact LEDs can have, we see that that reduced energy leads to reduced greenhouse gas emissions. GHGs add to a plethora of environmental, global health and social equity issues, which, in the end, will cost the global economy more to fix than prevent. By taking the simple step of retrofitting your home or business with LEDs, you play a role in preventing harmful GHGs that contribute to air pollution, ocean acidification, species loss, and severe weather events. Additionally, communicating the logic and overall commitment behind the organization’s pursuit of the LED retrofitting would be important as it sends a message to your employees that the organization’s vision is future-forward and that it values its place in a global world. It also raises awareness and demonstrates compassion- traits that are highly valued by employees in recent years, as many people are searching for work environments that have a holistic view and provide employees with the opportunity to work for ethical and innovative organizations.
Utilizing LEDs for lighting also helps reduce resource overuse. LED lamps last 5-10 times longer than a typical CFL, and up to 50 times longer than a standard incandescent. Imagine all the lightbulbs you’d add to a landfill over 11 years. Then imagine all the lightbulbs over those years that have to be produced just to keep up with your needs. Now, multiply that by 120 million- approximately the total number of households in the U.S. If all households and office buildings replaced expired traditional light bulbs with LEDs, a large amount of materials, production, water use, and waste and environmental degradation could be avoided. That’s a big step toward becoming more sustainable!
There’s so much an organization can do to move towards more sustainable operations, products and culture. LED retrofitting is just one simple, efficient way to save energy, reduce costs and provide health benefits to employees while demonstrating your commitment to a more sustainable future, and encouraging retention of progressive and compassionate employees.