The United States is currently enjoying a dramatic surge in construction in manufacturing infrastructure. This suggests fresh demand for lighting and controls and the expertise to properly apply them to industrial spaces.
Manufacturing construction spending has doubled since the end of 2021. According to the Commerce Department, as of May 2023, the value of put-in-place manufacturing construction spending was a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $194.3 billion compared to $110.2 billion for May 2022, a 76.3% increase.
Not seasonally adjusted, year-to-date spending for manufacturing construction was $71 billion as of May 2023, compared to $41.3 billion as of May 2022.
Commerce reported the surge has not been offset by reduced investment in other construction spending, which generally continues to strengthen.
High-tech is the primary beneficiary. According to Commerce, computer, electronic, and electrical manufacturing are the principal industries driving this new construction. In the past few decades, this manufacturing has been a relatively small share of construction but is now a dominant component. Commerce said this construction surge appears to be currently unique to the United States.
Government policies are driving surging demand. Following the pandemic, strong demand for durable goods initially drove an uptick in manufacturing construction spending. Currently, it is primarily being driven by an interest in decarbonization and greater supply chain resiliency coupled with government policies. These policies included the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), and CHIPS Act, each of which provided direct funding and tax incentives for public and private manufacturing construction.
Industrial lighting should be LED and controlled by a detailed control solution. The majority of new construction is regulated by commercial building energy codes, which establish a minimum level of design energy efficiency by prescribing maximum allowable lighting power and mandating various controls. In jurisdictions where energy codes are not in effect, model codes and standards such as the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and ANSI/ASHRAE/IES Standard 90.1 provide an essential roadmap to minimizing lighting energy costs.
With lighting controls, a key tenet is to automate so as to use lighting only in the right amount and only when and where it’s needed. Basic inputs include occupant sensors, time scheduling, and daylight sensors, which apply to both indoor and outdoor applications. In each case, a sensor or other input provides a signal to a controller, which decides whether to change the power state of the controlled lighting and if so by how much. Smart controllers enable more sophisticated algorithms with layered control strategies.
Even if the lighting must remain On in an unoccupied zone for safety, dimming enables the lights to be reduced for energy savings. In a warehouse, for example, occupant sensors dedicated to each aisle can reduce lighting power by 50% when the aisle is vacant and return the lights to full output when it becomes occupied again.
Due to the size of many industrial applications, wireless communication can prove cost-effective. Integrating lighting control and building management functions can also be effective, such as programmable thermostats that allow the HVAC units to reside on the lighting control network. By networking the lights, the system operator gains the capability of programming lighting control sequences of operation and generating occupancy and potentially other data such as temperature.
Learn more. Armed with knowledge, lighting practitioners can deliver industrial lighting and control solutions that optimize occupant productivity and comfort while minimizing energy consumption and carbon emissions.
See case studies of successful industrial lighting control applications here.