State leaders announced Tuesday that Chattanooga business officials with Global Green Lighting—which employs people who design and assemble low-energy lighting control systems—plan to hire as many as 250 people at its new local assembly facility.
“I want to congratulate [Global Green Lighting] on this great announcement and say thank you for their investment in Hamilton County and Tennessee,” Gov. Bill Haslam said in a prepared statement. “Having a strong technology infrastructure and supporting a culture of innovation will help us continue to attract companies like GGL and reach our goal of becoming the No. 1 state in the Southeast for high-quality jobs.”
The expansion will create 40 new jobs immediately.
By the end of 2013, Global Green Lighting leaders expect to hire 160 assembly workers. Company leaders also expect to hire 50 people for sales, marketing, customer service and equipment maintenance.
In summer 2011, Global Green Lighting's CEO Don Lepard told Nooga.com he was bringing jobs from China to Chattanooga to support the local workforce and set examples for other corporations.
Officials said Tuesday that their announcement means state job creation by bringing subcontracted production back from China.
The company's products allow an operator to control lighting systems that use smart grid and fiber optic technology via the Internet from up to 35 miles away, according to Nooga.com archives.
“[Global Green Lighting] is an excellent example of how innovation drives economic development,” Bill Hagerty, Tennessee economic and community development commissioner, said in a prepared statement. “We are focused on supporting innovation and entrepreneurship initiatives, which will help grow Tennessee’s economy and give our state a distinct competitive advantage."
The company recently acquired a 180,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Chattanooga, and leaders have set up production lines to assemble its flagship product, an LED streetlamp combined with the latest automated metering infrastructure and smart grid metering technology.
Lepard said that, in addition to energy savings and carbon credits, the company's system offers improvements over traditional streetlights, such as 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 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, according to a news release.
“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,” Lepard said.
After a pilot project in Coolidge Park, city leaders contracted with Global Green Lighting to replace all 27,000 streetlights with the innovative new technology.
When that project is complete at the end of 2013, Chattanooga officials expect to cut lighting bills up to 75 percent per year, according to the news release.
Leaders said that Chattanooga is the first American city to combine LED lighting with a smart grid metering, wireless, radio-controlled and utility-certified energy management system.
“It’s the perfect example of the public and private sector benefiting together by sharing the advantages of a new technology,” Lepard said.
Updated @ 6:49 p.m. on 3/20/13 to correct a factual error. The original article said: "EPB leaders have certified the company's outdoor lighting solution, which makes it the world’s only product of its kind that has been authenticated by an electric utility to deliver energy savings to the city in real time, according to a news release from state officials."
However, EPB released a statement on Wednesday that said, "EPB would like to clarify some information in recent news reports concerning Global Green Lighting. EPB has not certified any products or services of Global Green Lighting for energy efficiency, reliability or for any other purpose. EPB does not have a certification program for any products."