APRIL 13, 2015, WASHINGTON (NNS) – Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus recently directed that brighter, longer-lasting and more energy-efficient lighting be installed in U.S. Navy ships under construction as part of a strategy designed to help increase these ships’ time on-station, decrease time spent on maintenance, and prevent shipboard injuries.
Program managers for all new construction ships have been directed to pursue installation of Light-Emitting Diodes (LEDs). Their reduced drain on the ship’s electrical load, compared to conventional florescent bulbs, translates to increased time between refueling, which means more time on-station.
“We are continuing to become more efficient in how we use energy. The move to LED saves between two and three percent of the total fuel usage for each ship and that adds up in a fleet of 300 ships,” said Mabus. “Upgrading to LEDs on our ships will increase our ability to provide the global presence that is vital to America’s national security and economic well-being.”
The memo authorizes program managers to spend up to $2 million per ship from the ship’s change order funding, subject to the funds’ availability. Additional funding is available with approval, in the event installation on a particular ship is more expensive. LEDs’ lower energy consumption means the bulbs will “pay for themselves” in one to five years.
LEDs have already been installed on more than 170 Navy ships. Program managers and program executive officers are empowered to install LEDs on new construction ships through a more streamlined process.
LED lights’ increased operational life translates to 80 percent less time spent on ladders and lifts changing bulbs. The Navy Safety Office predicts this will cut down on slips, trips, and falls, which are the most common shipboard injuries. The longer life also means less storage space aboard ship needs to be dedicated to replacement bulbs, thereby freeing it for other operational uses.
“The LED lighting we’re installing aboard ships today is making a difference where it counts: improving Sailors’ quality of life, saving time, and reducing safety risks,” said Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Mike Stevens.
LEDs are a type of Solid State Lighting (SSL) that produces light by passing electrical current through semiconductor material. LEDs use approximately 50 percent less energy and last up to five times as long as conventional florescent lights, between 40,000 and 50,000 hours, according to a Naval Sea Systems Command Business Case Analysis.