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BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- Following a successful pilot at its Aurora, Colo. "green" store, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., plans to outfit light-emitting diode (LED) display lighting in low- and medium-temperature refrigerated display cases in over 500 U.S. stores.
The LED lighting is manufactured by GELcore, LLC, a GE Consumer & Industrial business. "GE is a key ally in our effort to develop and deploy technologies that enhance the performance of our stores," said Charles Zimmerman, v.p. of prototype and new format development at Wal-Mart. "GE's inventive LED Refrigerated Display Lighting Solution is a strategic tool in Wal-Mart's pursuit of a 30 percent reduction in energy and 20 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions at our stores. These are the kinds of commitments that we're making to be both an efficient and profitable business, as well as a good steward of the environment."
In stores where the new GE LED solution will be put to work, Wal-Mart expects to net up to 66 percent energy savings, compared with fluorescent technology. Wal-Mart will employ occupancy sensors and LED dimming capabilities to reduce the time the LED refrigerated display cases are at 100 percent light levels -- moving from 24 to approximately 15 hours a day.
"The installation of GE's efficient, long-life LED Refrigerated Display Lighting Solution instead of the incumbent fluorescent technology allows Wal-Mart to aggressively pursue its environmental sustainability goals," noted David Elien, president of GELcore.
According to GE, the combined environmental impact of a 500-store installation represents an annual 35 million-pound reduction of carbon dioxide emissions. It also equals the good that comes from planting over 4,464 acres of trees or removing over 3,143 cars from the road for every year the LED lighting operates in place of fluorescent lighting. Wal-Mart estimates that the energy cost savings of a 500-store retrofit -- one of the top energy-saving initiatives it will pursue in 2007 -- will exceed $2.6 million annually.
Subsequent phases of the initiative will be aimed at retrofitting existing refrigerated display cases at many of Wal-Mart's worldwide network of 6,689 stores. "We have committed to invest up to $500 million annually on energy-efficient technologies," said Zimmerman. "It's our hope that one day all our reach-in refrigerated display case lighting will use energy-efficient LEDs."
Added Zimmerman: "Our sustainability team and senior management recognize the game-changing impact of the refrigerated-case LED solution. I think we helped GE drive development to where we are now. We look forward to the day, not too many years down the road, when every retailer will follow our lead in pursuit of greater energy savings and environmental benefits."
To date, GE has over 20 customer installations worldwide. According to the company, eight of the top 10 U.S. supermarkets are testing or using the company's LED solution. Wal-Mart is the first GELcore customer to roll it out in a widespread application.