Walmart, Walgreens and The Fresh Market Among Industry Leaders in Lighting Efficiency

by Nate Hunter

East Cleveland, OH — Over 45 retailers attended GE Lighting’s LED & Energy Efficient Lighting Trends for Retail conference this month to share best practices, new technologies and trends.



East Cleveland, OH — More than 45 retailers from across North America attended GE Lighting’s 3rd annual LED & Energy Efficient Lighting Trends for Retail conference at the lighting unit’s global headquarters in East Cleveland, Ohio, this month to share best practices, learn about new technologies and discuss emerging trends that can deliver immediate and sustained environmental and financial gains, while enhancing the visual appeal of products.

Over the last decade, retailers have shifted to more efficient light-emitting diode (LED) systems in signage, architectural lighting, refrigerated and frozen display cases, as well as accent and ambient lighting. The newest LED application on the radar screens of retailers of every size — including those operating hundreds or thousands of stores — is parking lot lighting.

Throughout the event, a common theme emerged: wherever possible, retailers are shifting toward long-lasting, energy-efficient LED systems. Interestingly, in the minds of retail facility executives and CFOs, the maintenance cost savings tied to an LED system’s longer life are sometimes as motivating as the energy cost savings.

“It just makes good sense to switch to LEDs for many applications,” says Amy Laughead-Riese, principal of 37 Volts Light Studio, former Macy’s lighting designer and conference keynote speaker. “LED lighting significantly reduces energy and maintenance costs while increasing energy efficiency, directly impacting a retailer’s bottom line. At the same time, it allows a retailer to maintain a consistent lighting quality and brand image throughout a store and in multiple store locations.”

Retailers are looking to incorporate LED technology enterprise-wide, from distribution centers to the sales floor. In the last 10 years, LED systems have transformed applications as varied as traffic signals, signage and refrigerated display case lighting.

While some retailers gravitate to LED systems for creative, high-end designs, others are switching for practical, energy-saving reasons. For optimal energy savings, retailers have even integrated motion sensors with LEDs that activate when customers approach a display or certain area. Walmart, one of the featured retailers at the conference, has set a goal to use 100% LED lighting in all of its 5,366 stores through new construction and retrofitting.

“We began our LED journey with our exterior signage and realized this could be a sustainable, long term lighting solution. Switching to LEDs was a no brainer,” says Charles Zimmerman, vice president of international design and construction with Walmart. “Now we’re using LEDs in display cases, parking lots and throughout the store, and now our LED lights are outliving our refrigerated display cases, providing zero maintenance.”

The Fresh Market took home the conference’s LED Retailer of the Year award for incorporating LED PAR38s into 40% of its stores for both accent and general lighting applications.

“We are honored to receive this award in regard to our LED efforts,” says Paul Poole, corporate energy manager of The Fresh Market. “We were able to reduce our energy use while still maintaining a very high quality of light to improve the customer experience and the overall aesthetics of our stores.”

Walgreens received the Retailer of the Year award to acknowledge the company’s transition from F28 to F25 linear fluorescent lamps, a strategic move that enabled the company to achieve a 9% energy savings while also extending its re-lamp cycle — how frequently it changes bulbs — by 10%. At the end of 2011, Walgreens will have more stores than any GE customer in the world using F25 linear fluorescent lamps.

“We’ve made unprecedented use of more efficient lighting systems that also enhance the shopping experience in our stores with a cleaner, brighter look,” says Tim Schmid, Walgreens’ divisional vice president of facilities management. “This is just one example of our overall sustainability commitment aimed at maximizing the use of human, capital and natural resources to positively impact the communities we serve.”

For more information on GE’s LED outdoor lighting click here.

For more information on refrigerated display lighting click here.

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SOURCE: GE Lighting

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