Arabian Gulf (NNS) -- The aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) (Ike) is on its way to a brighter and more energy efficient future. In an effort to go green and make itself the radiant jewel of the Great Green Fleet (GGF) Initiative, Ike has begun the great task of upgrading the 38-year-old Nimitz-class aircraft carrier to LED lighting systems.
"It's not a difficult process, but it is time consuming," Electrician's Mate Fireman Christina Jackson said. "It's been an ongoing process for almost a year and a half and it's amazing to see the difference."
Jackson is just one of a small division of Electrician's Mates that have banded together in converting every light fixture aboard one of the Navy's largest vessels.
"E-Division is working to get the entire ship converted to LED," said Lt. Scott Sally, Ike's electrical officer. "Don't worry, your space is on the list to be done, but each one takes time to complete. We have prioritized each space and will continue to work on them throughout the deployment."
Instead of Thomas Edison's old-fashioned filaments or outdated fluorescents, light-emitting diode (LED) is a type of solid-state lighting that uses a semi-conductor to convert electricity into light. Today's LED bulbs can be six to seven times more energy efficient than conventional incandescent lights and cut energy use by more than 80 percent.
"There are thousands of spaces aboard and even more bulbs to light them," Electrician's Mate 2nd Class Lane Reynolds said. "The amount of energy we're saving Ike every day is incredible."
According to Reynolds, if every light 3rd deck and below was changed to an LED, it would save an average of 934,000 kWh a month. To put that in perspective, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, a residential American home only uses an average of 911 kWh a month.
Fluorescent and incandescent lights also create a considerable amount of heat. When a warship is operating in some of the hottest areas of the world, as Ike currently is, keeping equipment and personnel cool is a number one priority. LED lights not only save electricity, but also keep the spaces considerably cooler than their older counterparts.
"LED lights require less maintenance, consume less energy and last much longer," Reynolds said. "That makes my job easier and keeps us fighting more efficiently."
Powered by two nuclear reactors, the Ike is one of the most environmentally friendly ships the Navy has ever seen. On a warship, waste is not a luxury Sailors have. Every electron aboard counts and the current fluorescent lights must be changed often to keep the workspaces lit.
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus chose the name Great Green Fleet to honor President Theodore Roosevelt's Great White Fleet, which helped usher in America as a global power on the world stage at the beginning of the 20th Century. Now at the head of the 21st century, Ike is doing its part in furthering efficiency throughout the fleet and making the Navy a little greener each day.
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