Bright Ideas - A Brief Look Toward the Green Future of Prisons


Posted on Wednesday 10th July 2019


     While safety remains the primary goal for correctional facilities, over the last two decades the thought of integrating a sustainability-focused ideology for these facilities has increasingly been emphasized.  This shift comes at a time when ever-increasing global focus on sustainability has in turn directed many world leaders to start adopting more environmentally conscious standards and practices for their countries.  As prisons often run at near full-energy-consumption-capacity for twenty four hours a day, it is imperative that the nation housing 22% of the world’s incarcerated population begin adopting more environmental consciousness toward its correctional facilities.  What this means is that by running at full energy consumptive capacity for twenty fours a day, prisons in the United States annually consume massive quantities of electricity. However, there exist key opportunities for these facilities to reduce energy consumption.  Today, we will be discussing how our nation’s institutions can address the most accessible area responsible for electricity consumption: lighting.

     Prisons consume energy on a constant timeline and as reductions in energy consumption have increasingly become the topic of discussion, with the United States National Institute of Corrections producing a paper in 2011 outlining this idea directly.  Participating researchers found that current prisons must begin adoption of greener practices, with the goal of new prison design to incorporate environmental consciousness. As the development of lighting technology progresses towards energy saving alternatives, conventional fluorescent tubes are readily becoming obsolete.  Over the last decade, LED lighting has emerged as the most prominent of these technologies.

     Now, regarding the topic of  decreasing the environmental impact for our prisons; LEDs can offer so much more than conventional incandescent bulbs and fluorescent tubes.  On average, LEDs use as little as 20% of the energy consumed by powering a comparable fluorescent tube. Plus, in addition to adopting other environmentally conscious technologies, existing prisons can most directly start down that path with using LEDs.  More often than not, an existing conventional fluorescent tube can simply be replaced by an LED tube. For instance, the Correctional Facility LED Tube Independence LED offers fits almost every single fixture designed to originally house the comparable conventional fluorescent tubes.

     Why is it important that not only our prisons, but commercial facilities begin adopting greener technologies?  Well I’ll tell you; as nonrenewable resources required to produce energy like coal and natural gas continue to be depleted, energy consumption has come at an increasingly greater cost to the end user.  As reported by the U.S. Department of Energy, roughly 40% of this nation’s energy consumption today comes from powering commercial buildings and facilities. Implementing energy saving technology can not only decrease our nation’s reliance on nonrenewable resources, but can also greatly reduce costs for the end user.  With LEDs representing a shining example that illuminate these possibilities for decreased costs in energy consumption, it is imperative to our nation’s future existence that we begin to accept the responsibilities of adopting environmentally sustainable practices.


Industry Spotlight:

     The good news is that there exist many companies out there who offer promising LED lighting products.  One great example can be seen in Independence LED Lighting Solutions, a leading company who got its start very early in its industry.  We understand that innovative, environmentally focused products are essential if this country is to continue to hold its place on the world stage, so we did some digging into their website and chose to discuss this LED lighting manufacturer due to their global presence and extensive product line.  Innovative, environmentally focused products are essential if this country is to continue to hold its place on the world stage, and Independence seems to offer quite a few of them.  For the context of prisons, their Correctional Facility LED Tube is the first of its kind; while continuing to offer a potential to save energy, it also is the only LED tube constructed without any glass or metal, instead being made from an environmentally neutral plastic based material.  We found that aspect particularly intriguing; the absence of glass and metal means the light cannot be used in the form of a weapon, but more importantly, the use of environmentally-friendly plastic means that the product further minimizes its carbon-footprint and overall impact on the environment.  Based on their readily apparent environmental consciousness, we encourage other companies and manufacturers to take a page from the book of Independence LED.



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.  To learn more about the company itself, feel free to visit their About Us page.

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