Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty and Don Lepard, president and CEO of Global Green Lighting (GGL) have announced the company’s plans to hire as many as 250 people at a newly established lighting assembly facility in Chattanooga. The move is creating jobs for Tennesseans by bringing subcontracted production back from China.
“I want to congratulate GGL on this great announcement and say ‘thank you’ for their investment in Hamilton County and Tennessee,” Gov. Haslam said.
“GGL is an excellent example of how innovation drives economic development,” Hagerty said. “We are focused on supporting innovation and entrepreneurship initiatives, which will help grow Tennessee’s economy and give our state a distinct competitive advantage. Thank you to GGL for bringing these jobs to Hamilton County and for creating the technologies that have translated into economic opportunities for our citizens.”
GGL recently acquired a 180,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Chattanooga and has set up production lines to assemble its flagship product, a light emitting diode (LED) street lamp combined with the latest AMI (automated metering infrastructure) smart grid metering technology.
“By marrying our locally designed and manufactured LED and Induction light fixtures with our innovative wireless radio control technology, we have created the world’s most advanced lighting and energy monitoring system,” said Lepard. “In addition to certified, measured energy savings, and carbon credits, the GGL system offers countless improvements over traditional street lights – improved lighting quality and color, wireless monitoring to track exact energy usage, and situational functionality such as scheduled or manual override dimming or flashing. The adjustable ‘up light filters’ offer an optional elimination of light pollution. The system also self-reports the location and diagnostics for malfunctions within 15 seconds of the occurrence, and the expected life of these lights is five times longer than the old, traditional lights.”
GGL’s expansion will create 40 new jobs immediately. By the end of 2013, GGL expects to hire 160 assembly workers. The company also expects to hire 50 people for sales, marketing, customer service and equipment maintenance.
Chattanooga City Mayor Ron Littlefield cites GGL as a leading example of how the city’s world-class technical infrastructure is sparking innovation and job creation. “Two years ago, Chattanooga introduced America’s first community-wide Gig fiber network offering every home and business Internet service up to 200 times faster than the national average, and today we’re on our way to making all of our streets brighter, safer and more energy efficient thanks to Global Green Lighting’s unique wireless radio controlled street lamps,” Mayor Littlefield said. “We are excited to partner with a forward thinking company like GGL to enhance efficiency while supporting job creation, and we are proud that this kind of innovation is happening in the heart of Chattanooga.”
Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger applauded GGL, emphasizing the region’s global competitiveness. “GGL’s investment shows how our local companies and workers are competing in the worldwide economy,” Mayor Coppinger said. “This is another example of how our region has come to the forefront of the resurgence in American manufacturing.”
“GGL has been designing and marketing lighting solutions from Chattanooga for many years,” said Charles Wood, vice president of economic development for the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce. “We were pleased to deploy our existing industry team to support him in growing his operations to include assembly and gear up for a major marketing push.”
Chattanooga’s deployment of America’s first community-wide “Gig” fiber network offering up to 1 gigabit-per-second Internet service inspired Lepard to pair his energy efficient (LED) street lamps with a wireless radio controlled, smart grid-based lighting system that allows the city operators and officers complete and measured control of every light to maximize both energy savings and public safety.
After a very successful pilot project in one of Chattanooga’s premiere public parks, the City of Chattanooga contracted with GGL to replace all 27,000 street lights with the innovative new technology. Upon completion of the project at the end of 2013, Chattanooga officials expect to cut lighting bills up to 75 percent per year.
While many cities have already embraced LED lights as a way to reduce energy costs, Chattanooga is the first American city to combine LED lighting with a smart grid metering, wireless radio controlled and utility certified energy management system that will also slash maintenance expenses by as much as 75 percent.
“We are thrilled to execute our first community-wide street lighting project in our home city of Chattanooga,” Lepard said. “Following Chattanooga’s introduction of America’s first community-wide fiber optic network, the city has continued to raise its stature as a smart grid city and haven for innovation. Our state-of-the-art wireless radio controlled street lighting system offers an unparalleled combination of energy savings and functionality.”
Other cities are also taking notice of GGL’s sustainable, low energy lighting system. The company is in active communications with 26 cities, the first of 250 identified in its target marketing strategy. In addition, GGL also plans to market the lighting technology to private developments and enterprises which can tie their outdoor lighting into the same infrastructure used by the public sector. “It’s the perfect example of the public and private sector benefiting together by sharing the advantages of a new technology,” Lepard said.
With GGL’s radio network lighting, the city can turn street lamps on and off in real time and tailor the brightness of each lamp based on a neighborhood’s lighting needs. The system records the GPS coordinates of each lamp post and correlates the location with dawn and dusk times, so the lights only come on only when they are needed. Each individual street lamp includes a residential grade meter and alerts maintenance workers via the wireless network when a bulb is out, power is lost, or if repairs are needed. Energy usage is automatically fed back to the local electric company billing system, eliminating the need for manual meter readers. In other words, each light auto meters and auto reports its status.
Clarification: An earlier version of this article included an inaccurate statement. EPB has not certified any products or services of Global Green Lighting (GGL) for energy efficiency, reliability or for any other purpose. EPB does not have a certification program for any products. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.