Planning for More Sustainable Lighting

Hera's Director of Sales, Brad Stewart, had a very informative article published in the January/February issue of A.R.E's Retail Environments Magazine. For those of you that may have missed it, I want to hit on a few key points that are of solid relevance in retail lighting design and energy costs.

When it comes to the physical and visual perception perception of our environments, we can all agree that lighting plays a major role. This being said, we are at an exciting crossroad in the lighting industry. Strong forces in the world have led us to a tipping point in retail illumination. The cost of energy, new regulations, velocity in the green movement, the evolution of LED technology and the need to increase sales per customer have combined to motivate retailers to consider how new alternatives might have a positive affect on both their top and bottom lines.

Hence, we are witnessing an emerging and significant trend (maybe even a quantum leap) in retail lighting. The most efficient way to articulate the trend is to consider the ratio of lighting solutions positioned above eye level and those that are at or below eye level. In the immediate future, you’re going to see more lighting installed below eye level than ever before.

Energy regulations may be the most significant driver of this trend. For example, Georgia code is changing to use the 2009 IECC and ASHRAE 90.1-2007 as well as ICC-700 as an optional green building standard.  The new rules will become effective January 1, 2011. This code allows as little as 1.5 watts of lighting energy per square foot. In some cases, this simply is not enough light to get the job done. One way retailers are achieving desired light levels and still meeting code compliance is by applying lighting directly into displays. 

We have spoken with several people in the lighting industry who concur. Bernie Bauer, Principal and Lead Designer at Integrated Lighting Concepts in West Lake Village, California states “The challenge for retail lighting, given the wave of stringent energy codes, is to maximize the design by using high quality advanced lighting sources and to bring the source closer to the product when appropriate. LED case and shelf lighting meets these objectives when the correct LED products are properly applied.”

Besides code changes, the raw economics of energy costs are coming into play. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average cost per kilowatt (for commercial environments) in the year 2000 was 7.43 cents. By 2009, it had risen to 10.21 cents per kilowatt. This is no longer “chump change” and retailers are certainly paying attention.

A recent analysis of retail environments at Perimeter Mall in Atlanta, supports Barker’s perspective that retailers should be reconsidering lighting plans. The findings indicate that less ceiling lighting may be the proper course. Twenty different venues were visited. What was discovered was that on average: 
retailers have twice as many foot-candles on the floor as they do 
highlighting the 
product on the third shelf.

Lighting on the Floor Average
Lighting on the Shelf Average
53 FC
21.5 FC

This fact flies in the face of scientific research and common sense. A few years ago, Merchant Mechanics published groundbreaking research that analyzed the affects of white light on a display. Among other things, the scientific analysis proved that increasing light levels on the face of product, results in an increase of product uplift by as much as two fold.

Swivel Spot           $250
Non-swivel spot     $150
Installation           $250           

Energy Cost / year           $87.12
Lamp change cost /year    $60.00

5 year Total Cost            $1385.60
for lighting

8 x StickLED12            $450
Installation of outlet    $125

Energy cost / year            $ 18.30
Lamp change cost            $ 00.00
                                  $ 18.30

5 year Total Cost             $616.50
for Lighting           

For more of this article...please click HERE for a direct link to our website

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