The size and scale of many food and beverage manufacturing facilities dictate a higher than average energy consumption. In fact, roughly 15% of energy consumption in the United States is dedicated to the food production and processing industry. This is largely due to not only the size of these facilities, but also the unique energy demands and needs that food processing facilities require.
For instance, many food processing plants will operate 24/7 with cold storage facilities that require a great deal of energy to keep temperatures down and stored food safe. Furthermore, in the interest of productivity and efficiency, most lines run in operation without disruption that requires more energy to power large industrial machinery.
While higher energy consumption throughout the industry seems inevitable, the implementation of LED lighting represents a simple way to limit unnecessary energy usage and optimize operational expenses. Lets examine some of the reasons why choosing LED lights for your food processing facility makes sense.
Meet All Certification and Safety Requirements
Certifying bodies like the NSF have specific requirements in order for your lighting to be deemed food safe, and Pacific Light & Energy is here to ensure that the LED lights you install meet these standards. For instance, some requirements that LED lights can meet include:
IP69K Certification, so that your lights can endure high powered water jets during cleaning.
Mercury-free fixtures, avoiding the disposal, storage, and safety concerns correlated with traditional light bulbs.
NEMA Enclosure ratings, ensuring that your lights won't be impacted by particles like dust.
NSF/ANSI Certifications that meet food safety and splash zone requirements.
Increased Employee Morale and Productivity
As light levels are regulated throughout the food processing industry, following these standards can ensure that employees can adequately see the task they're doing and complete these tasks with greater precision. Furthermore, LED lights are renowned for their superior color rending index ("CRI") that is used to measure how accurately the item being illuminated is to its natural, organic color. This means that with a better CRI, employees can more easily spot damaged or bad foods and packaging, and generally complete their tasks with greater accuracy and efficiency.
Lower Maintenance, Greater Lifespan
With modern LED lighting technology, your maintenance costs can be reduced thanks to their longer lifespan and greater durability than traditional lighting fixtures. Because they last longer, LEDs don't need to be changed nearly as often. This translates to increased savings by not interrupting operations, not having to clear space to change lights, and not having to hire a lift or have your employees spend precious time swapping out fixtures. Furthermore, since LED lights boast greater durability than traditional lighting technologies, they are built to handle all sorts of hazardous conditions which translates to a reduced chance of breakage or the need for repairs.
Reduce Carbon Footprint and Energy Consumption
Perhaps the number one reason that food and beverage manufacturing facilities are switching to LED technology is the reduction of their carbon footprint and overall energy consumption. LEDs can save up to 90% of energy when compared to traditional lighting technology, representing a substantial amount of energy and financial savings.
Furthermore, having more energy efficient lighting is better for the environment, highlighting your leadership in the sustainability space and reducing your overall carbon footprint. Beyond saving you money, the reduction of your energy consumption represents a marketing opportunity to highlight to clients and fellow corporations that your company is distinguished through corporate responsibility and energy efficiency.
With the use of potentially hazardous tools such as knives within food processing facilities, LED lighting that limits glare and maximizes visibility helps to reduce the risk of accidents in these circumstances. Additionally, LED lighting technology do not contain dangerous toxic materials like mercury, and are not constructed with glass bulbs that can easily shatter and both injure employees or contaminate food.
LED lighting fixtures are also specially designed and manufactured to turn on instantaneously without a warm-up period or flickering, which is an important factor to consider when your staff relies on quality lighting to complete their work. LEDs also run much cooler compared to traditional lighting technologies, maximizing energy efficiency and keeping perishable items safe at lower temperatures.
Motion Sensors and Controls
The advent of modern LED lighting technology comes with occupancy sensors and controls that ensure that lights are only powered up when needed, leading to further energy and financial savings. As the LED lighting industry continues to grow and develop, the increased research and development means that new features and improvements are constantly being implemented that bring along further innovations that help your business save where it matters most.
The increased durability of LED lighting technologies means that they operate at peak efficiency even in extreme temperatures. Furthermore, since they emit significantly less heat than traditional lighting technologies, your cold storage operates more efficiently without having to change temperatures.
The aforementioned lack of a warm-up period and flickering also means that employees don't need to spend as much time in cold storage getting what they need, keeping the area colder and ensuring that the integrity of your food being stored is not compromised.