A Michigan University study of 25 garment factories in Bangalore has shown that green technology saves energy, boosts profits and productivity in industrial units.
The study conducted over a period of three years from 2010 to 2013 has stated that switching to LED lights in factories not only saves energy, it boosts productivity and increases profits.
LEDs or light-emitting diodes create less heat than traditional lights, so they help keep factory floors cooler. When workers are more comfortable, they produce more and are less likely to be absent - a major problem for employers, it said.
"Heat stress stops the body's capacity to exert, so workers are less able to complete production targets," said assistant professor at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business and one of the study's authors Achyuta Adhvaryu.
"LEDs create a productivity gain that dwarfs the energy savings," he added.
The garment factories in the study were not air conditioned and had hundreds of people laboring on machines that ran constantly in buildings with multiple stories.
Similar work conditions are found in Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Vietnam and other major exporters in the USD200 billion apparel industry.
Due to climate change, finding ways to keep factories cooler will become increasingly challenging for businesses in developing countries, which on average are hotter than developed nations, the report said.
The researchers studied the staggered rollout of the LED lights in the factories over four years. They found the LEDs cost about USD 6,300 to install, and the energy savings was about USD 3,000 per year.
According to the report increased profits from efficiency gains were more stark - an increase of USD 41 per operating day for each factory, or nearly USD13,000 per factory per year.
The paper's co-authors were Namrata Kala of Yale University and Anant Nyshadam of the University of Southern California.