CRES will be contacting renewable energy businesses throughout the New England region to ask questions about clean energy technology. We intend to shed light on the clean energy leaders within the region and promote the expansion of clean energy technology across the nation.
John Branagan, Director of Business Development
Business Location: New Hampshire
1) What is the name of your business and what do you do?
Our name is Affinity LED light LLC and we are a new and different kind of LED company. Our view of doing business is to help our clients to not only save on electricity and maintenance costs, but also improve the lighting quality and reduce their environmental impact. Our founder, Steve Lieber, and I worked outside of the industry prior to our work here and strive to be a complete turnkey provider for our clients. From initial assessment and analysis, incentive research and communication with utilities, to installation of our lighting and products, coordination with the electricians and waste disposal, we are connected with our projects every step of the way.
We have found that this simplification and organization is a great benefit to our customers. We are also proud that we assemble all of our exterior lighting, such as street lighting, right here in Dover and hire U.S. veterans to do most of the work. When we were first founded in 2012, we focused on commercial and have slowly expanded to add in municipal work. We are now about 60/40 commercial to municipal.
2) How has New England and/or the United States’ emerging clean energy industry affected your business?
Right now in the New England marketplace, ME, NH, MA, VT, the timing is really good. When it comes to efficiency, the adoption rate has been low, which creates high opportunity in the field. Everybody has lights in every sector and business model, so what we offer appeals to everyone.
The cost of running older legacy lighting is also high and the current incentives to change are healthy. The important aspect about an incentive is that it helps to change behavior. More efficient lighting is one of the best things anyone can do to save money in their home, office or municipality.
We are currently seeing savings from the mid to high 40% all the way to 70% of their consumption. This translates to dollars spent. Doing well and doing good still impacts the bottom line.
3) Has your business undergone any efficiency measures/ what has your business done or plans to do in order to reduce energy costs?
In our office we are all LED, in our product manufacturing we have eliminated cardboard packaging from street lights and instead use round trip totes, which has helped to reduce overall waste. All of our handtools on our lines are powered with rechargeable batteries helping to keep a lean manufacturing approach.
4) What role has state or federal incentives played in helping to spur growth in your business?
Incentives have played a really important role and we value them greatly. If we are able to show an incentive, it can help show a very short payback on the project cost. These underlying numbers help drive behavior. It is common that the cost of waiting to do a project may often be more than the incentives due to the cost to use their current legacy lights.
5) What do you see as the future of clean technology?
In our field, we see the technology quickly getting much better. When we first started, the efficacy of a light and how many lumens of a watt was not as good as they are now. Manufacturers use to overdrive LED chips. This would burn them down. Now, we see that the driver can get more lumens for every watt that is used and we are under driving LED chips, helping to improve the lifespan of the product. Advanced lighting controls , such as the smart nodes on top of every street light in Dover, NH allows the lights to talk to each other, letting the control know when one is out. Measurement and monitoring can allow dimming and our new product line called “Cliq”, bond and group together, to increase efficiencies.
Outside of our field, watching grid modernization and embracing an interconnect systems between homes and cars and utilities and our grid.
6) Why do you think it is important for elected officials and other business to learn more about your field?
The most important takeaway is that we are solving for multiple problems while also creating jobs. Government can help by creating efficiency incentives that help lower electricity use, thus lowering demand and creating jobs at the same time.
Our “Yankee Thrifty” mentality to waste not, want not is parallel to the idea of better quality light that uses less electricity in the process.