April 12, 2013

Greene says new lighting system could save firms money

Charles Oliver

— For the past nine years, Dalton native Greg Greene worked as a product design consultant in China, helping a number of large companies build and operate their factories. He says he returned home about a month-and-a-half ago to pursue an even more attractive business opportunity.

“This is a personal project, not something I’m doing for someone else,” he said.

Greene has founded Greene Product Design and will be marketing a new hybrid solar lighting module for commercial buildings.

“We can cut out 95 percent of the costs of commercial lighting. It has a quick return on investment, which is less than two years. You can save 50 to 60 cents per square foot,” he said.

Greene says the lighting module draws upon his technical expertise as well as his experience in building commercial buildings.

A 1980 graduate of Dalton High School, Greene grew up working in his father’s construction firm. After graduating from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State College) and attending the University of Georgia, Greene founded and ran a firm that manufactured metal buildings for nine years. After selling that business, Greene developed and sold a new water purification system. He then began a career as a consultant.

“That’s what got me to China,” he said.

Greene says one of the key innovations of his new lighting system is that it is a hybrid. It uses solar to run the lights. But it can also be tied to a power main for backup power when there’s not enough sunlight.

The batteries in each light continuously recharge and each individual unit has a fire alarm and security system.

“You’ve got full coverage across the building. If you have a fire and there’s smoke in one place it will actually flash a light and show you where it’s at. The security system works the same way. It will sound an alarm and flash a light showing you where your breach was,” he said “Even if you lose your main power, you’ve still got lighting. You’ve still got security, and you’ve still got fire protection.”

Depending on local codes, Greene says, the fire alarm can be the building’s primary system or act as a backup.

Greene says the lighting is fully automatic and can be installed so that units in low-use areas can share power with those in higher use-areas.

Customers can choose the type of lights they want, and have the opportunity to replace older lighting systems with more efficient LED lights or T5 fluorescent bulbs.

“The market for new commercial buildings is large, more than 3 million units each year in the United States,” he said. “But we will also be looking to retrofit existing buildings.”

Greene says the units can be built into roof panels at the factory. He says he’s working with some local firms to install units in commercial buildings in Dalton.

“By this summer we will be in production,” he said.