AUBURN HILLS, MI—FCA US LLC recently installed intelligent lighting systems at several of its plants in the Detroit area. The smart LEDs are expected to help drive down energy costs by at least 50 percent and improve employee productivity.

The sensors communicate to each other via a wireless network that can adjust illumination based on occupancy needs or the intensity needed in a specific location. The digital network runs on autopilot, reducing operating expenses and increasing business efficiencies for the operations.

“Making the move now to the most advanced LED lights with wireless control capabilities gives us the ability to track our real-time consumption and react, respond and customize our energy use quicker than ever before,” says Kevin Dunbar, corporate energy manager at FCA.

“LEDs also mimic natural light, which has shown to increase our employees’ comfort and productivity,” adds Dunbar. “This transition is just one element that helps modernize our operations while also reducing our environmental footprint and operational costs.”

FCA has retrofitted more than half of its manufacturing facilities with LED light fixtures. For instance, the company’s 5-million-square-foot Sterling Heights Assembly Plant is lit by 12,000 LEDs, making it one of the largest LED retrofits in the manufacturing industry. The installation reduced energy use by 34 percent.

The automaker has also been installing LED lights at its distribution centers and dealerships.

“By 2020, [we] aim to achieve a 30 percent reduction in energy consumed per vehicle produced vs. 2010 at mass-market vehicle assembly and stamping plants worldwide,” says Dunbar. “By the end of 2017, [our] energy consumption was down 24 percent compared with 2010.”