Acuity Brands is the most prominent lighting company in North America and has a very strong voice in favour of energy efficiency. Energy Efficiency simply means using less energy to perform the same task – that is, eliminating energy waste. One easy way we can do that is by replacing incandescent bulbs with LED Lights knowing that LED lighting fixtures provide tremendous energy savings. Making the change toward energy-efficient lighting can have major positive effects on cities and the environment. I looked into Acuity Brands OLED Lighting practices and was able to deduce overall that this is a company truly motivated by sustainability and thus they are highly recommended by me.
Steel and Aluminium are very important raw materials in the manufacturing of these lighting products. These two metals are sustainable in that they are both easily recyclable materials, and degrade over time - though, a very long time. However, there isn’t much information about how these materials are mined or sourced. Mining and smelting aluminium is immensely energy-intensive, uses large amounts of water, and generates air, water, and soil pollution. Making aluminium is harmful to the environment and the people who live near mining, refining, or smelting operations.
The acuity brands lights consist of 24 OLED panels ideal for large area uniform illumination. The panels are encased in injection moulded polymer cassettes. Synthetic polymers are not biodegradable, making them a permanent waste. It is not possible to discard used polymeric products like plastic bottles and bags in sanitary landfills. Sanitary landfilling is an engineered method of disposing of solid waste on land in a manner that protects the environment, by spreading the waste in thin layers, compacting it to the smallest practical volume and covering it with compacted soil by the end of each working day or at more frequent intervals if necessary. These synthetic waste items are then burned in incinerators which results in the release of harmful gases and causes air pollution. The company does state that its operations are 100% carbon-neutral so their manufacturing and production are carefully monitored. Also, they claim to use recycled polymers for their products, the lights are built to last with a 3-year limited warranty and guarantee energy savings.
13% of the world's electricity is used for lighting, which also accounts for 5% of greenhouse gas emissions. Energy-efficient LEDs can replace lighting sources like incandescent light bulbs and halogen lamps, which can positively impact the environment.
In order to become much more vertically integrated, the firm has made a series of strategic partnerships. As a result, it currently manufactures many of the components for its lighting systems, including LED drivers and light engines. This helps Acuity accelerate speed to market and offers it more control over its supply chain. One of the many benefits of a brand having control over its supply chain is that it helps manufacturers and retailers produce and transport only what they can sell. This eliminates the unnecessary expenses associated with producing, insuring, and shipping inventory a company can't sell.
Recently, a new initiative was introduced to eliminate waste. The use of scannable QR code digital instructions is expected to save an estimated 15 million sheets of paper and an estimated 1,500 trees per year. Their rationale for this according to Trevor Palmer, President, Acuity Brands Lighting and Lighting Controls, "Our products last for years and sometimes decades, and over time, the paper installation instructions are discarded or misplaced. Giving our customers digital access to the documents they need helps minimize waste and makes our product information more accessible".
Knowing that improving our future readiness means redirecting capital toward sustainable companies, governments incentivizing sustainable activities, customers showing a preference for sustainable products and services, and employees demanding sustainable leadership. To meet these expectations, businesses need to align their digital transformation and sustainability objectives, and their decisions need to be grounded in data.
Acuity Brands is a company that cares about employees. Knowing that people are an essential pillar in the march for a sustainable future, it is beautiful to know companies put in the effort to treat their employees fairly. They have a variety of employee resource groups, one of which is MAGIC - the Minorities Amplifying Growth, Inclusion, and Community. The goal of MAGIC is to create an environment that is encouraging and nurturing so that minority employees at Acuity Brands may reach their full potential. Another notable resource group in the company is (PRIDE - People Respecting Identity, Diversity, and Equity) which aims to create a safe place for the employees where they feel supported and are free to discuss their challenges and needs.
The brand is also very passionate about giving back to communities which is highlighted by their very ample portfolio of philanthropic missions. The Acuity Architectural Specialty team participated in the 24hr Tremblant, a 24-hour ski and walking relay to raise funds for children's charities in Québec, Canada. The Conyers, GA, facility donated furniture and office supplies to help local organizations and avoid landfill waste. Donations went to numerous non-profits, small businesses, and medical facilities, amongst others. It is really encouraging to see that they make an effort to donate not just their products but their time and skills.
I admire how transparent they are with their environmental impact. They have a goal to avoid 100m metric tons of carbon emissions as a result of projected 2020-2030 sales of LED luminaires, lighting controls, and building management systems replacing older technologies in existing buildings.
Currently, the brand is offsetting its emissions by investing in forestry and landfill gas-to-energy projects that reduce atmospheric carbon and some of its production facilities have transitioned to 100% renewable energy for their source of electricity.
Acuity Brands is definitely a model of how an established company should run. Their value to design with sustainability in mind is extremely impressive and they are actively running with that vision. Going forward, I hope they can shed more light on how their production materials are sourced and what goes on in their supply chain. Nevertheless, this is a great brand and I highly recommend their products.