Who said complaining at work never gets you anywhere? Based on the sole complaint of one sailor, the US Navy is set to transform its entire lighting system in its fleet of submarines. Traditionally U.S. submarines use out-dated fluorescent lights to illuminate sailors’ berths, but one crew member complained that the lights produced a noisy hum. As a result, the Office of Naval Research is working on a new high tech LED lighting system that will not only not hum, but also use about 50 percent less power to produce the same amount of light.

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The complaint came through the Navy’s new TechSolutions program, which encourages sailors and marines to identify areas in which new technology could improve effectiveness. These ideas are then sent to a rapid-response tech squad which aims to get them up and running within 12 months. As a result of this single complaint it is expected that the ‘berth light upgrade’ will soon spread to the entire U.S. Navy.

In order to replace the old fluorescent lights, the TechSolutions team looked into new LED technology. These new lights are not only more compact and soundless, but they save energy which is a key asset for vessels on long deployment. The chore of replacing the lights will also be made easier as LEDs are expected to last about ten years maintenance-free.

“LED lights are an immediate way to improve efficiency across the fleet,” said Roger Buelow, chief technology officer at Energy Focus Inc. and principal investigator for the SSL project.

There is also an environmental benefit. “The submarine community is pushing to adopt LEDs because fluorescents contain mercury,” said Edward Markey, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) Philadelphia Electrical Powergroup and TechSolutions technical point of contact on the SSL project. “Hazardous materials require special disposal procedures, costing the Navy time, money and space.”

It seems this is the latest step in the U.S. military becoming as renewable and as efficient as possible. However the fact that it comes from a sailor’s recommendation somehow makes it all the more sweet.

+ Office Of Naval Research

Via Clean Technia

Image © Official U.S. Navy Imagery