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Light-emitting diode (LED) technology is impacting supermarket lighting in various ways, from improving store efficiencies to influencing the way customers shop.
?More and more grocers are taking the environment into consideration when making store decisions,? says Antoinette Mileti, retail marketing manager at East Cleveland, Ohio-based GE Lighting, ?and LED lighting is making a big difference, thanks to improved energy efficiency, longer life and high-quality color rendering.?
Mileti notes that GE?s Immersion RV60 LED lighting system offers grocery store owners the next generation of energy-efficient refrigerated display lighting to help lower energy costs while enhancing the visual appeal of merchandise. RV60 helps retailers reduce energy usage in one of their biggest areas of consumption: lighting vertical cases that house frozen foods, beverages and floral arrangements, among other items. Additionally, the system is rated to perform up to 50,000 hours, contributing significantly to controlling maintenance costs.
Mileti points out that LED technology is now available in countless application spaces: parking lots, outdoor signage, refrigerated display cases, ceiling lighting, warehouse high-bay lighting, and more.
?Because there is no one-size-fits-all lighting solution for food retailers,? she says, ?GE offers a professional lighting audit as an easy way for grocers to evaluate their current system and explore how other lighting technologies may look better, perform better and ultimately save money. We also recommend technical solutions, compare the performance of various lighting technologies and demonstrate the benefits of specific products.?
Mileti and GE see a trend toward fewer fixtures and more uncluttered ceiling space in supermarket environments, and among the company?s most popular grocery store lighting fixtures are the new Lumination IS Series LED Luminaires, which deliver high light output coupled with energy efficiency in a sleek, streamlined fixture for low-bay, open-ceiling environments.
Heinen?s, a Cleveland-based grocery chain with 19 stores in Ohio and Illinois, had used T5 linear fluorescent lighting and was always relamping, Mileti notes. The retailer?s recent switch to GE?s Lumination IS Series luminaires helped reduce maintenance by offering a 65,000-hour life, explains Bill Wells, Heinen?s director of store planning. ?If I can cut my electric cost and my maintenance cost, who wouldn?t do that?? Wells says. ?It just makes good business sense. If it?s not an LED solution, we?re not interested.?
At LaMar Lighting, in Farmingdale, N.Y., CEO Jeff Goldstein notes that the LED light is directional, which allows properly positioned fixtures to direct maximum illumination on the products, but that LED luminaires can also have a wide beam for aisle lighting. ?LaMar Lighting has been working to make its fluorescent lighting solutions available in LED to address the market demand,? he adds.
The company offers custom services to tailor fixtures to the specific needs of every application, according to Goldstein, and also provides detailed installation instructions, as well as fixtures pre-wired and pre-assembled whenever possible to simplify and speed up the installation process.
LaMar?s NB Series, or Nebula direct/indirect pendant, is a popular choice, he says, because it addresses the lighting needs of a supermarket environment by accommodating ceilings 12 to 14 feet or lower, has a wide distribution of light, and the ability to illuminate shelves from top to bottom. The solution is now available with high-quality LED lamps.
?Supermarket lighting will continue focusing on energy-saving strategies such as integral motion sensors, but on a more individual, fixture-by-fixture basis,? Goldstein concludes, ?so that the entire rows of lights do not get controlled at once. Additionally, bi-level lighting could be considered instead of full-on/-off, to maximize energy savings, which is where LaMar?s occu-smart bi-level lighting luminaires come in. When a customer walks down a frozen food aisle now, all the lights go from full off to full on. Instead, they could turn on at a low level and proceed to full on when the shopper is close to the door. The same situation applies to aisles, especially during slow shopping periods. Many stores are open long hours with a low shopping volume, and bi-level lighting can be used to indicate the store is open, but save energy when specific aisles are empty.?
No Sacrifice Required
Jake P. Summers, director-specialty market at ConTech Lighting, in Northbrook, Ill., says, ?From a pure technology perspective, LED is by far the driving force within the lighting industry today.?
Energy codes are forcing retailers to turn to LED lighting systems because of their inherent energy savings, Summers says, but the upside is that LED now delivers the performance, color and other key characteristics that retailers expect from lighting systems, without sacrificing the store?s aesthetics and the customer?s shopping experience. Further, he says, the cost of LED systems is coming down to the point where ROI is much more feasible than in the past.
Summers adds that ConTech?s O2 family is one of the company?s most popular supermarket products, and that the Standard O2 has four housing options, three lumen packages, three-beam distribution, a high CRI (color rendering index) of 90-plus, and 50,000-hour life for five-plus maintenance-free years, while the Mini O2, known as ?The Little Brother,? has two housing options, three lumen packages, and the same three-beam distribution and life as its bigger sibling.
?Another product worth mentioning is our CGL family of LED high bays,? says Summers. ?These high lumens are being used in transitional areas of supermarkets where traditionally a 175-watt-plus metal halide product is used. This LED solution offers significant energy savings and eliminates lamp replacement for five years.?
Retailers, he sums up, are trending away from ?light everywhere? to ?lighting design? to save energy and create a more enticing and enjoyable environment for their shoppers, and LED lighting is pacing that trend.
?If I can cut my electric cost and my maintenance cost, who wouldn?t do that? It just makes good business sense. If it?s not an LED solution, we?re not interested.?
?Bill Wells, Heinen?s