A Brighter Today — and Tomorrow

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A Brighter Today — and Tomorrow

By Bob Ingram - 08/15/2016

LED technology has been a true game-changer for supermarket lighting in terms of efficiency, versatility, design, creativity and differentiation, translating into reduced energy costs and increased profits and sales for food retailers, according to lighting manufacturers, which predict even more benefits in the pipeline.

The future of lighting will be “unique customized spaces which provide greater visibility while creating a special place to visit, one that customers want to come back to,” asserts Michael Lehman, VP of marketing, product development and design at Northbrook, Ill.-based ConTech Lighting.

Adds Lehman: “Lighting will help customers navigate to quickly find what they want, while directing them to other items they may want. Lighting will offer control flexibility integrated with store fixtures, and will be able to be integrated with sales numbers to demonstrate ROI.”

ConTech’s most efficient lines, according to Lehman, are the Well Designed LED high-bay pendants for general lighting, LED track lights suspended on LuxBeam to highlight produce and end cap areas, LED decorative products to create unique areas for dining, and LED tapelight to add linear wall and sign lighting to enhance visibility and vertical surfaces.

These fixtures control glare and “put the light on the intended surface, and not in the eyes of the customer,” he says.

At Somerset, N.J.-based Philips Lighting, Ravi Koul, director for retail and hospitality, says that the Philips Day-Brite/Philips CFI LED linear suspended LBX luminaire with Light Balance optics is one of the company’s most versatile products, delivering a vertical gradient of light that ensures evenly lit merchandise.

“Compared to fluorescent lighting, the LBX luminaires are 50 percent more energy efficient,” he notes, “which can reduce energy use by up to 40 percent when combined with Philips control systems such as occupancy sensors and dimming capabilities. With a predicted lifespan of 100,000 hours, it also dramatically reduces maintenance costs.”

Supermarkets like H-E-B’s Central Market are using the Lightolier SpotLED, which Koul says is best suited for accenting food areas. Available in lumen configurations from 600 to 3,000, and in spot, narrow flood and flood spreads, the fixture family offers multiple accessories available to customize and further complement the space.

With hyper-accurate wall-to-wall indoor positioning solutions that enable retailers to provide personalized location-based services via store app, supermarket lighting has a bright future, according to Koul.

Upgrade Opportunities

Jerri Traflet, senior marketing executive at Current, a unit of Cleveland-based General Electric (GE), says the most popular fixtures in grocery stores “are those that support LED and intelligent-lighting controls, delivering tremendous cost savings, as well as a platform that streamlines the technology footprint.”

Current’s Albeo and Lumination IS ceiling fixtures support various installations within supermarket ceilings, and the company also offers multiple fixtures for refrigeration display cases, produce displays, and office and receiving areas.

Current can couple lighting technology innovation with GE’s cloud-based operating system Predix to deliver real-time analytics and a platform to support unified commerce, Traflet notes.

“We see the future of lighting as the integration of the intelligent platform,” she says. “The efficiency and longevity of LED, along with the upgradeability of lighting controls to provide new data from sensors and intelligent devices as they become available, will allow grocers to see benefits from their investments many times over.”

West Caldwell, N.J.-based MaxLite offers cooler and freezer lamps that deliver “crisp, bright light” for freezers and walk-in refrigerator cases, according to Amy Silver, corporate communications manager. Silver says the bulbs consume less energy and run longer and cooler than fluorescent freezer bulbs, lowering operating costs and reducing the risk of spoilage.

While manufacturers are now offering refrigerated cases with LED lighting already installed, Silver contends that retrofitting existing displays remains the most economical choice.

She sees the future of LED store lighting as critical in creating experiences and reasons for shoppers to come to stores as online grocery shopping and automated shipping programs gain traction.

Ledvance (formerly Osram Sylvania), in Willington, Mass., offers for retrofit in various daylight color temperatures SubstiTUBE IPS LED T8 Lamps that are compatible with both instant-start and programmed rapid-start electronic T8 ballasts. Dimmable versions will allow for even more energy savings.

Noting that the company’s Sylvania Lightify portfolio can be controlled using apps on a tablet or smartphone to create scenes and change color according to design and branding goals, Keith Pierce, Ledvance’s vertical sales manager for grocery and ESCO, concludes: “Controllability is going to be key for the future of lighting.”

Maintaining Control

Bill Plageman, VP of marketing, product management and customer service at Oakland, N.J.-based Amerlux, concurs with Pierce’s prediction. “The future of supermarket lighting will significantly improve and change building management strategies with state-of-the-art controls,” Plageman affirms, which “will bring the Internet of Things into the supermarket arena.”

For aisle and general lighting, Amerlux’s Producer is a linear pendant that, at 10 watts per foot, features a high-efficiency 60- or 80-degree batwing distribution, or a symmetrical distribution for more general illumination applications.

Meanwhile, Stelina pendants are a new, narrow design of arched format available in direct, indirect and low-bay styles, Plageman notes, while Nitro LED A16 high-performance, architecturally styled pendants provide ambient and general lighting applications.

Chris Conway, director of marketing at Boston-based Digital Lumens, says his company’s LLE fixtures closely meet the efficiency and form factor sought by the majority of supermarkets, and include onboard intelligence and native sensors for both occupancy and daylight harvesting.

Conway sees the future of supermarket lighting going well beyond lighting and energy savings to encompass platforms such as Digital Lumens’ LightRules, which delivers system intelligence and the resulting data.