Bright Ideas - Further Unpacking the Concept of The “Green Prison”


Posted on Monday 15th July 2019

     Global concern garnered by the concept of environmental degradation predates even the industrial revolution of the late 1800’s, and since the environmental movement of the 1970’s this concern has only grown in scale and scope.  An early example of this mindfulness is seen in the concept of “metabolic rift”. Metabolic rift is a term coined by John Bellamy Foster and centers around the idea that the social and economic progression of the western world will cause an irreparable rift within the relationship of humanity and non-human nature.  Essentially, as the economy and thus technology continue to progress, we will stray further from environmental consciousness in industrial production, energy consumption, and waste management. Within the context of the United States economy, this concept mainly applies to the sectors of the economy that are responsible for the majority of energy consumption.  One such consumer of this nation’s energy can be found in correctional facilities, as they must run at peak energy consumption nearly 24 hours a day. So how do we begin to address this metabolic rift regarding prisons? Well, what we can do is start the process of retrofitting our existing correctional facilities with more ecologically sustainable technology.

     Combined, our nation’s prisons and detention centers use upwards of 30 billion kWh in a given year.  The technology we can begin to implement here can start with address what they have in constant operation: lighting. Mainly, the case of this large consumption of energy is due to the situation at hand; prisons are not utilizing contemporary lighting technology.  The vast majority of these facilities still operate with conventional fluorescent tubes and incandescent bulbs. This outdated technology that accounts for the lighting of these facilities makes up over 25% of their annual energy consumption. Through implementing new technology, such as LED lighting, prisons (and other facilities) can reduce the energy consumption accounted for by lighting by upwards of 80%.  The main problem isn’t necessarily that fluorescent tubes use more energy, but that there exist very many companies who can provide LED lighting retrofits. For example, Independence LED is an industry leading manufacturer of LED tubes and lighting products.  They even offer an LED tube specifically designed for use in correctional facilities.  Regardless of the source, it is imperative to our continuation that we begin to implement ecologically sustainable technology, and starting with prisons would be a good first step.


We have been featuring the industry leading manufacturer Independence LED in our “Bright Ideas” articles due to their innovational products and environmental consciousness.  In addition to their previously mentioned flagship products, they also offer products regarding external lighting for correctional facilities.  From parking lot and parking garage lighting to perimeter lighting, Independence LED’s extensive product line offers realistic and mindful solutions for our nation’s correctional facilities.

If you’re curious to learn more about how Independence LED is leading the way in their field, you can visit the company’s website.  As always, we at GREENandSAVE believe knowledge to be the fuel that powers progress, so we encourage you to learn more about the specific implications of Independence LED’s Correctional Facility LED Tube and to check out the general implications of their work.

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