placeholder Thermo Fisher ScientificThermo Fisher ScientificThermo Fisher Scientific

Thermo Fisher Scientific

Asheville, NC
Outdoor Lighting Indoor Lighting

A comprehensive lighting upgrade to Cree LED lighting brightens manufacturing facility from front entrance to back shipping dock.



Thermo Fisher Scientific, a world leader in serving science, is dedicated to delivering innovative and environmentally responsible products to its customers. The corporate mission is to enable its customers to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer. As part of that mission, Thermo Fisher set goals to improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions across all its sites. When it came to achieving those goals with new lighting at its Asheville, NC site, Thermo Fisher Scientific turned to Cree® LED lighting solutions.


Thermo Fisher Scientific began looking at LED lighting for its facilities several years ago and evaluated a number of manufacturers, distributors, and installation companies. According to Scott Self, Director of Energy at Thermo Fisher Scientific, they couldn’t find a solution that fit both their needs and financial requirements. “The first costs were either too high or the deployment costs were too great to make it economically feasible. We started a dialog with Cree to discuss the challenges we were facing. We basically said we feel confident Cree® products are rock solid, we just need the specified return on investment (ROI), or better, to move forward with the project. Cree was able to deliver the products we wanted at the ROI we needed—that’s how the project got started.”

The large-scale project included replacing close to 2000 fluorescent high-bay lamps and wrapped and recessed strips and troffers. Cree® CXB Series LED high-bay/low-bay fixtures replaced over 580 fluorescent lamps in the 25-ft high production area, and the LS Series surface ambient luminaire, in 4- and 8-ft lengths, replaced over 600 fluorescent strips to bring bright light to task areas of the facility. Outside, facility parking lot and building lights were replaced with XSP Series pole-mount and wall-mount luminaires. When the office lighting was replaced with Cree® ZR Troffer Series luminaires, Stephanie Nilsen, Director of Operations, noted the positive effect the new lighting had in her environment. “It was immediately noticeable in the office space as it rolled out in my area. I felt more awake at work, I felt more in tune and alive, and it felt very energizing.”

Steve Haney, Maintenance Manager for the Asheville site, received positive feedback on the new lighting as it was installed throughout the plant. Haney heard from employees that the improved light levels created a more comfortable work environment. The better lighting also impacted quality, commented Haney. “Naturally you can see what you’re doing better and spot defects in the workmanship easier with the lights we have now.” He heard the most feedback on the exterior lighting at the facility. “The lights really lit the outside areas and people felt more secure coming into and leaving the facility in the early morning and evening hours. Even truck drivers have said how much easier it is to back their trailers into the shipping docks with the new Cree® LED XSP Series on the sides of the building.”


Haney is pleased to hear the positive feedback and also pleased that with the new Cree LED lighting, he no longer has to worry about constantly replacing bulbs and ballasts in the facility. Before the new lighting, some plant operations had to be halted to deal with lighting outages. “We have areas in the plant for parts inspection and assembly processes and when a light goes out, as menial as it may seem, it is critical.” Before production could begin again, Haney had to send someone with the necessary equipment to repair the light, costing both time and money. In addition to outages throughout the year, Haney managed a scheduled lighting maintenance process during the facility’s summer shutdown that required four people working full-time to replace bulbs and ballasts—at an annual cost of almost $10,000. With the new Cree LED lighting, backed by a 10-year limited warranty, Haney is looking forward to not having to

The Cree LED lighting project not only allows Thermo Fisher Scientific to reduce lighting maintenance and energy costs, it also benefits employee engagement at the Asheville facility. According to Nilsen, “The site here has a grassroots green team program that is run by associates on the floor, and projects like the Cree® LED lighting project are completely endorsed by, supported by and championed by the green team.”

According to Scott Self, the Cree LED lighting project in Asheville was a glowing success, resulting in big improvements to the site, great feedback and reduced energy costs. “These results continue to instill our confidence in the project and in the rollout, and certainly, we are positioned to move forward with many more sites.”