Editor's note: The author is traveling on a "clean tech road trip" through Ohio and Michigan with experts from NRDC. All of her posts from the trip can be found here on her blog.
The next stop on our roving "clean tech road trip" on Monday was Full Spectrum Solutions lighting. Our tour guide was commercial salesman Alex Orr, and he described the company as a “solutions-based manufacturer,” filling new lighting niches since 1997. That was when founder and CEO Michael Nevins and his wife moved to Jackson, Michigan from Colorado. The lack of sunlight during the long Michigan winter wore on their psyches and they developed seasonal affective disorder. Looking to assuage their winter blues, the Nevins’ searched for a lighting product to brighten their days. That's when Nevins realized that the marketplace lacked a diversity of lighting solutions. And so they founded Full Spectrum Solutions. As their market grew, so did their company, and they began to manufacture efficient induction lighting systems for the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors.
Alex Orr explains the lobby. The glazed windows in the background allow minimal heat in during the summer, keeping the building's temperature—and A/C costs—low.
Their growth hasn’t come easily, however. Similar to the Astraeus story (see my post from yesterday), Full Spectrum Solutions was in the planning stages for an expanded manufacturing facility and had just purchased new land -- a brownfield site -- when the economy took a downward turn. Despite their tight budget, they decided to go ahead with the new building, but with slightly different plans. Instead of hiring outside construction contractors, they employed their own lighting manufacturers -- ”people who work well with their hands” -- who were re-certified as welders, mechanics, and carpenters, and spent the next six months building seven days a week. In April 2010, they completed the building, which received LEED Platinum certification. Since the green, geothermal-powered facility opened its doors, FSS's production capacity has doubled, and they are continuing to expand, providing much needed employment opportunities for the community of Jackson.
The parking lot's remote generating system powers the lights without a grid connection.
- Everlast Lighting, of Full Spectrum Solutions
- Location: Jackson, MI
- Manufacturing since: 1997 (LEED certified facility open since 2010)
- Number employed: 45 (tripled in past 2 years)
- Markets: Primarily domestic