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Options vary from industry to industry and include recovering and using waste heat from temperature-controlled processes, improving the efficiency of compressed-air systems and switching to variable-speed drives, to name but a few examples.

But there's one option that's open to all companies, no matter what industry they're in: lighting. Artificial lighting is used in every industrial workplace, so it harbors significant energy and cost savings for those companies that are willing to invest in modernization. Proper lighting also improves productivity and increases employee satisfaction.

Modern, high-efficiency industrial lighting comprises two key technology areas: LED lamps and intelligent control systems. The latest lighting control systems can automatically adjust the intensity of artificial lighting in accordance with variations in natural light to ensure that overall lighting levels remain constant and appropriate throughout the working day.

These two technologies can be used in a three-step strategy to yield major energy savings. The first step involves designing a lighting system that involves a combination of general lighting and glare-free localized lighting. Needless to say, this includes the use of LED technology (step two). LED lamps use only about half as much energy as fluorescent lamps. The final step is to implement a lighting management system. This three-step approach can reduce energy consumption by up to 75 percent as well as cutting lighting unit maintenance costs.

According to licht.de, an industry initiative spearheaded by the German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers' Association (ZVEI), improved lighting can also enhance employee productivity. This claim is based on a series of experiments in which an increase in illuminance (from 800 to 1,200 lux) was shown to increase production speed by 7.7 percent. Optimized lighting (i.e. bright lighting) has also been shown to boost the concentration of production workers and reduce the accident rate.

Of course, effective lighting begins with education. And this April, industrial companies will be able to learn about the latest developments in lighting technology by sending their production managers, CEOs and energy efficiency officers to HANNOVER MESSE 2015. There, at the new Environmental Technologies and Resource Efficiency display area, they will be able to survey all the latest energy and environmental technologies relevant to their industries. Needless to say, the lineup will include lighting technology – as well as ventilations systems, decentralized energy supply solutions and renewables.

One of the big talking points in the new Environmental Technologies and Resource Efficiency display area is likely to be the European Union's EuP Directive, which places a ban on the sale of mercury-vapor lamps (HQL lamps) as from 13 April 2015. Mercury-vapor lamps are widely used in industry, so the interest in finding alternative, energy-efficient lamps is commensurately strong.

At HANNOVER MESSE, industry associations, efficiency initiatives and leading manufacturers of lighting systems will present a range of alternatives to HQL lamps. They will also provide valuable information and tips on how to optimize factory-hall and work-area lighting design for energy efficiency and productivity. For manufacturers of industrial lighting systems, the fair's new Environmental Technologies and Resource Efficiency display area provides the perfect setting in which to make contact with customers and potential partners and showcase the latest energy-efficient solutions.