The impact of LED lighting goes beyond aesthetics and sustainability—it is also being used to promote better mental, physical, and behavioral health via its effects on circadian rhythm. It’s a fascinating industry trend that we are following closely at A1 Energy.
What Is Circadian Rhythm—And What Effect Does Light Have On It?
Physically and mentally, we respond to the light-to-dark daily cycle known as circadian rhythm.
Circadian rhythm is that internal biological clock that tells our bodies when to be alert (during the day) and when to sleep (at night, when it’s dark). This natural cycle helps keep us healthy—physically and mentally. When the cycle is interrupted, it can have adverse effects.
As an example, consider SAD (seasonal affective disorder). According to information on the Mental Health America website, SAD (commonly referred to as the “winter blues”) is a subtype of depression that afflicts people around the same time every year—when the seasons change and we have shorter periods of daylight and longer periods of dark within our days.
Unfortunately, our circadian system isn’t compromised only in the fall and winter months. Due to man-made lighting—including the glow of smart phones, e-readers, tablets, and computers—our bodies and minds get mixed signals year-round. Our days and nights blur together, affecting our ability to get the restful sleep so necessary for optimal health. Research has shown that this disruption in the circadian system has links to depression, mood disturbances, obesity, cancer, diabetes, diminished mental and physical performance, decreased productivity, and other issues.
Supporting Circadian Rhythm With Lighting
While man-made lighting can wreak havoc on our circadian system, fortunately, promising efforts exist to use color-tunable lighting to support it instead.
In fact, A1 Energy was recently involved in a project that explored the potential of color-changing LEDs; we assisted in a pilot study of circadian rhythm lighting’s affects on dementia patients. Westminster Village, a community of Presbyterian Senior Living in Allentown, PA, installed lighting at Westminster’s Neighborhood of Hope, where 23 memory care patients reside. The lighting system changes color and intensity depending on the time of day, simulating the natural patterns of sunlight.
In the May 8, 2017 article Getting With The Program In Memory Care by Cheryl Slavinsky on the Senior Living News website, the executive director at Westminster Village and residents’ family members shared that the lighting has enabled residents who were previously unable to sleep through the night to finally get a full night’s rest. Also, the residents seem more calm and optimistic. And in some cases, residents’ medications could be decreased.
Not only did Westminster Village notice a positive change in its residents, its staff members have experienced changes, as well, according to the article. They’ve said that they feel more energetic and less tired after a day’s work.
“A1 Energy was proud to offer this new technology to one of our clients as the first of four national pilot studies,” said Mike Porreca, project manager at A1 Energy.
The Light At The End Of The Tunnel—A Brighter Future
As more color-tunable lighting products enter the market and are applied to support our circadian rhythm, imagine the impact. Workspaces and homes that promote better health, harmony, and productivity.
“We’re excited to be on the leading edge of the exploration into the benefits of color-tunable lighting,” shared Porreca. “As a company, we realize the potential impact this new technology may have on end users in many different settings.”
A Legacy Of Doing Business Honestly And Ethically—And Of Commitment To Community
A family-owned company spanning three generations, Lancaster Toyota has two full-service dealerships in East Petersburg that uphold the highest business standards for employees and customers. Founded by Bob Allen in 1973, the company is now under the leadership of President Rob Allen, Bob’s son, who started his career as a worker in the wash bay when he was 10 years old. The family’s passion for preserving the business’s values and success continues with Rob’s son, Brad Allen. As Sales Manager, Brad aims to further the legacy that his grandfather forged four decades ago.
The company’s dealership locations include 5270 Manheim Pike (Toyota) and 5170 Manheim Pike (Mazda). With a 52,000 square-foot, 32-bay service center and factory-trained and certified technicians, the company can handle everything from routine maintenance to extensive bodywork. In addition, it has a large used car lot at 1103 Enterprise Road that offers a wide selection of quality used vehicles. The company also has a full-service Toyota-certified collision center at 1188 Enterprise Road, which handles repairs on all types of vehicles and that is also certified in Mercedes Benz.
The team at Lancaster Toyota feels fortunate for the opportunity to celebrate a high volume of business and to have long-lasting relationships with its customers. The company has a culture that revolves around supporting the community that has made it a success. Lancaster Toyota sponsors local organizations and initiatives including the Fulton Theatre, Aaron’s Acres, Schreiber Pediatrics, the Lancaster Toyota Amphitheater in East Petersburg, and others.
The Successful Drive To Sustainability
In addition to the company’s commitment to its employees, customers, and the local community, it has also incorporated changes over the past five years that demonstrate not only its good business sense but also its sense of environmental responsibility. Lancaster Toyota, with the help of A1 Energy, has been upgrading its lighting throughout its various facilities to energy-efficient LEDs. “We started our first project back in 2010 with our body shop. We had 400-watt metal halides that were going bad. We decided to go with T5 fixtures, which use less energy and cost less than fixing the metal halides,” explained Ron Price, Maintenance Supervisor.
As a result of those changes, the lighting in the shop improved dramatically, and the company saved more than $700 per month on its electric bill. With a rebate offered by PP&L, Lancaster Toyota was able to recover its costs of converting the body shop lighting in approximately two years.
According to Price, “From there we moved to our used car building and did the same thing with the metal halides there. After that, we swapped out T8s for LED tubes at our Mazda location.”
As with the body shop, the lighting in the used car and Mazda dealership facilities improved and the electricity costs decreased.
“With the PPL rebate, we paid those projects off in 14 months,” said Price. “With the success we had with those projects, we followed suit with installing LEDs when the T8s in our service drive went bad. With the cost savings and rebate, we paid that project off within just one year.”
Last year, Lancaster Toyota also changed its parts department’s T8s to LEDs. The company estimates it will recover its costs for that project within one year. “A1 energy was a big help in seeing our lighting projects through from beginning to end,” shared Price.
We congratulate Lancaster Toyota on its success, and we commend it for choosing lighting that’s not only good for business but also kind to the environment. Is your company looking for sustainability solutions that will save money and treat the planet right? We’re here to help! Contact us today.
Located in the heart of Lancaster County, PA, Utility Keystone Trailer Sales is one of the largest single source semi-trailer dealerships on the East Coast. As an authorized Utility, MAC, Cheetah, and Evans dealer, the company offers solutions for virtually every semi-trailer transport need. In addition to selling new and used trailers, dry vans, dumps, flatbeds, and more, it also has highly skilled staff in its parts and service departments. Whether you have a minor maintenance issue or extensive trailer damage to contend with, the team at Utility Keystone Trailer Sales can get your fleet back on the road in no time.
The business was founded in 1978 when Stan Zeamer left his positions as teacher and wrestling coach at a college to start the company with local partners. From its humble beginning of operating from just one rented office and a single service bay, the company has since grown in property size, personnel, and business services.
At its present location, Utility Keystone Trailer Sales owns 55 acres along Route 283 in Manheim, PA. Its state-of-the-art facility houses 16 service bays and includes 6,000 sq. ft. of space reserved for a parts showroom and warehousing of inventory. The expansion of its storage area has enabled the company to provide customers with an extensive semi-trailer inventory and complement of services.
Utility Keystone Trailer Sales now employs over 84 staff members. Stan Zeamer transitioned the business to the next generation in 2008, when his youngest son, Bryan Zeamer, assumed ownership of the company as its President. His oldest son, Bill, assumed minority ownership as the Vice President of Sales.
In addition to trailer sales, Utility Keystone has also grown a thriving semi-trailer lease and rental line of business. That particular business initiative grew to such a degree that in 2014 the company created a new division, PennStro Leasing, LLC, to exclusively handle leasing and rental activities.
Committed To Sustainability While Serving Its Customers In addition to the calling to provide customers with the highest level of service and selection, the company also strives to do its part to do right by our planet.
According to Tommy Stoudt, Operations Manager, “We want to be the best stewards possible when it comes to helping our environment.”
Utility Keystone Trailer Sales began their energy efficiency initiatives in 2011 when they enlisted the help of A1 Energy to retrofit their high bays with T5HO fluorescent lighting. Since that time, they have also installed LEDs in the company’s office areas, the showroom, and also throughout the exterior areas (including wall packs and parking lot lighting).
Success In Sustainability And Cost Savings By making lighting changes to help preserve our earth’s natural resources, Utility Keystone Trailer Sales has also reaped the reward of reducing its energy costs.
“The lighting is longer lasting and of a better quality than what we had before,” shared Stoudt. “The cost savings is substantial over the long haul.”
Considering just the lighting projects completed in the last year at Utility Keystone Trailer Sales, the approximate savings are 50,840 kWh, which equates to about $400 per month/$4,800 annually.
At A1 Energy, we applaud the Utility Keystone Trailer Sales team for its dedication to environmental stewardship. If your company is looking for sustainability solutions that will make a positive impact on the environment and your bottom line, contact us today.
The two most recent commercials I have seen by car manufacturers highlight a self-sensing detection and braking system and a wifi enabled car. To me this is technology moving much faster than the posted limit. Yet the dealerships I have visited recently haven't seemed to adapt this same technology leap in regards their energy systems. Let's highlight three areas auto dealers should consider energy improvements before 2017 models are on the showroom floor.
1) Interior Lighting - Shop areas require a variety of lighting on at all times to fully service a clients vehicle. Fluorescent task lights and HID high bays are inefficient systems that many folks still perform work under. Showrooms and sales areas, which typically have long run hours, are often illuminated by traditional fluorescent troffers and halogen track lights. LED lamps and fixtures will provide much better lighting and save significant energy for these applications.
2) Exterior Lighting - Most Auto Dealerships far exceed the recommended exterior lighting at their store locations. The reason so many dealerships go above and beyond with exterior lighting is for advertising purposes. It catches driver’s eyes, especially at night, and makes their products look enticing and clean. LED parking lot lighting is a much more focused light. A thoughtful lighting design will still shine bright on the dealerships inventory and provide ample security, at a fraction of the energy that current inefficient systems do.
3) Air Compressors - If you've ever stepped on a shop floor, or peaked through to the mechanic's area it's likely you have seen (and heard) components of a compressed air system. Air leaks in the delivery system can waste as much as 30% of a compressor's output. Identifying and fixing leaks, installing metering for ongoing leak detection, and installing air-entraining nozzles can result from a proper air compressor audit.
The Auto Industry comprises one of the most lucrative, active, and wasteful industries in the world, and as such, carves out an energy footprint that is hard to mitigate. By addressing these energy efficient systems auto dealers can drive down a more sustainable path.
Solar energy, a clean, sustainable, and renewable energy source is growing in popularity worldwide, and offers itself as an important alternative to environmentally harmful fossil fuels. The US market has just been given a seal of approval –government backed. The ITC (Investment Tax Credit) was scheduled to drop to 10% at the end of 2016 for larger commercial and industrial projects BUT the government stepped in. It will remain at 30% through 2019, drop to 26% for 2020, 22% for 2021 and 10% for 2022 and beyond.
Several experts noted that one of the benefits of the ITC extension is that it will provide a bridge for renewable energy expansion between now and the first set of state compliance deadlines for U.S. EPA's Clean Power Plan in 2022. The CPP will require a 32 percent cut in utility-sector carbon emissions from 2005 levels by 2030, with some states seeing reduction requirements as high as 45 to 47 percent.
In addition to the ITC extension – solar panel costs have declined nearly 50% since 2009.
Market projections from SEIA and partner GTM Research indicate the U.S. solar market will add roughly 72 gigawatts of new capacity between 2016 and 2020, pushing the country's net solar capacity to more than 100 GW, or roughly 3.5 percent of all electricity produced in the United States.
Solar sector investment is expected to rise by $40 billion between 2016 and 2020, according to SEIA, and after 2020 should draw an average of $30 billion a year. Solar employment is also poised to nearly double over the same period, to roughly 420,000 jobs.
If you looked at solar with-in the last 5-7 years and decided it was not a good financial decision it is now definitely worth taking a second look!