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Cree to Light Up Pentagon With 4,200 LED Fixtures

Durham, N.C.-based Cree, (s CREE) maker of light-emitting diodes (LEDs), will soon illuminate a wing of the Pentagon that’s now undergoing renovations. Defense Department officials signed an agreement today for the company to supply more than 4,200 recessed LED fixtures for part of the Pentagon called Wedge 5. According to Cree, the so-called LR24 luminaires have delivered 22 percent energy savings in government testing. Cree would not disclose details of the Pentagon contract — it’s part of a long line of government deals for Cree dating back to the company’s founding — but the company said the fixtures retail for about $380 apiece.

Pre-Cree Pentagon
Pre-Cree Pentagon
Test installation of Cree fixtures at the Pentagon
Test installation of Cree fixtures at the Pentagon

Funding for the deal will come from Title III, a Department of Defense program designed to “promote creation and strengthening of domestic industrial capabilities to support national security needs.” The program’s stated goal is to enable low-cost early adoption of new technologies into weapon systems.

Cree’s deal could be just one of a slew of energy conservation projects supported by the Department of Defense in the name of national security during the next four years: President-elect Barack Obama’s chosen national security advisor, General James Jones, has advocated for the creation of an energy-policy czar who would sit on both the National Security Council and the National Economic Council to ensure that energy is a central, uniting force in government policy.

12 Responses to “Cree to Light Up Pentagon With 4,200 LED Fixtures”

  1. Anthony said:
    “I would assume that the LED fixtures will last for much longer (30 years) without maintenance, since solid state devices either fail immediately or last for their designed lifetime.”


    Solid state devices fail just like everything else. In case you haven’t noticed (all you have to do is walk down a hallway and count the dead fluorescent fixtures), the newer solid state ‘electronic’ ballasts fail just like the older transformer ballasts. They just don’t smell as much.

    The LED lights have ‘initial lumens’, and in a few thousand hours, they will not be as bright as when new. Notice I said ‘will not’, not ‘may not.’ That’s because I read the datasheet for the LEDs, and that’s exactly what it says in the datasheet.

    In my experience, after a few thousand hours most white LED lights grow so dim they’re worthless for illumination. I have one that, after the first few months, is less than 10% of its original light. It’s absolutely pathetic.

    Thanks for the laugh.

  2. I would assume that the FL bulbs will last 3 years each, plus ballast replacement costs as those go bad (5-10 years?). So those costs need to be factored in.

    I would assume that the LED fixtures will last for much longer (30 years) without maintenance, since solid state devices either fail immediately or last for their designed lifetime.

    Plus, you can have less building maintenance staff because they wont need to be repairing/replacing light bulbs and such.

    I’d agree that you need to have everything come together to come out on the money saving side of the equation, but it doesn’t seem that far fetched.

  3. Well, according to CREE, the units draw about 50 Watts. So 22% more would be about 64 Watts. Assuming 12 hours on per day, 365 days per year. Savings would be (at 10 cents per kiloWatt-hour) 1436512*$0.10/1000 = $6.13 per unit, per year. If the lights are on 24/7, that would be $12.25 per year.

    I agree that the light is higher quality (it seems whiter) but still….. Assuming the CFL unit cost $100, then the payoff time is about 20 years.

  4. CNCMike

    22% energy savings should pay for the difference in price compared to a fluorescent fixture in a year or two, plus they put out more light, higher quality light and you will probably never change another bulb in your lifetime.

  5. $380 for a light fixture? Gee, the Pentagon could almost buy a hammer for that much money!

    Seriously, I certainly hope they are achieving more than a 22% energy savings (compared with fluorescents, I assume) as the economics do not seem to make much sense to me.