Shedding New Light On The Subject


A Wisconsin retailer's replacement case lighting is producing substantial energy savings and drawing positive customer comments.

Paul Fassbender and Bill Doering have a couple of things to be happy about in Green Bay, Wis.: Their beloved Packers are Super Bowl champs, and several departments in their University Avenue Market have new Hussmann EcoShine case lights that are making the food “pop” better, as well as producing an average of 10 percent to 12 percent savings in kilowatt-hours per day. Even better, customer reaction has been “all positive,” Fassbender beams.

The decision to replace the lighting in the frozen meat case, explains Fassbender, came about because department, the dairy and beer coolers, and the fresh of the poor quality of the previous lighting, and “seeing what was going on in other stores led us to look into it closer.“

There were also what Fassbender calls the “advantages of incentives” from Focus on Energy, an organization that works with eligible Wisconsin residents and businesses to install cost-effective, efficient energy and renewable-energy projects. “We said, ‘Let's build into our break-even analysis what they'll contribute,’” Fassbender recalls. “Hussmann did the work on getting those figures.”

Jim Bechen, sales representative for Bridgeton, Mo.-based Hussmann, says, “All of our lighting solutions for University Avenue Market originated from discussions with the customer about energy management solutions. They experienced recurring issues with their fluorescent reach-in freezer case lighting common to most supermarkets: poor lighting, high energy costs, daily parts failures, customer dissatisfaction, employee frustration and continual repairs.

“We worked very closely with both Paul and Bill on the installation of the new lights,” Bechen continues, “and I was on site almost every day during installation to answer any concerns the owners may have had.”

The lights in the frozen, dairy and beer departments were installed in October 2009, and the meat case lighting was redone in December 2010.

Fassbender says that the entire initial project took three weeks from start to finish, with minimal disruption of the store's daily routine. “We had a plan to start with the frozen department and do three doors at a time,” he notes.

Hussmann's Bechen adds: “We calculated that we could install all 76 doors in the frozen section with lights and the occupancy sensors with two workers in slightly over a week. We started on a Monday and finished late on Friday. Because there is very little disruption to shoppers during installation, all the departments remained open while we installed the LED lights and sensors. Once in a while, a shopper may need to get at a product at the same time that we're working in a particular case, but not very often.”

With the exception of the fresh meat case, all of the other departments “have sensors so that the lights are used only when necessary,” Fassbender notes. “The lights sense a customer within 14 feet and go up to 100 percent from 20 percent. We're open 24 hours, so the sensors save a lot at night.”

The EcoShine vertical portfolio for frozen food was launched in April 2009, according to Anshuman Bhargava, Hussmann's LED project manager, who says that the EcoShime horizontal portfolio was launched in May 2009, and that there are currently a number of national and regional food retailers using these solutions.

Bhargava points out that LED lights have a number of advantages over T8 fluorescent lighting for frozen food reach-ins and beverage walk-in coolers. “Retailers can save 63 percent to 78 percent in energy costs over fluorescents, or $66 to $82 per light annually. Also, there are additional life-cycle cost savings on maintenance and the availability of utility rebates nationwide. From a merchandising standpoint, LEDs provide unmatched product visibility to guide the shopper toward the product and not the light source,” he says.

With LED lighting used in open, multideck display cases for meat, dairy, produce, deli and prepared food applications, Bhargava says the advantages include true-color rendering of products; lower product temperatures; 65 percent to 72 percent energy savings for shelf lights, or 56 percent to 71 percent energy savings for canopy lights; safe, low-voltage design; and a five-to seven-year lamp life. Further, EcoShine LEDs offer easy, flexible installation using magnets.

Almost 100 percent of the reach-in frozen food cases shipped by Hussmann are installed with LED lighting, says Bhargava, noting that the early-adopter big-box retailers were on the sensor case — literally — even when the payback was close to three to three-and-a-half years apart. “Since 2009, major grocery stores and convenience chains have jumped on the bandwagon,” Bhargava points out, “especially for vertical-door lighting of freezers and coolers. With utility rebates, higher energy savings and lower energy costs, the customer payback has become less than one year in many regions.”

In turn, he adds, this has led to “large-scale adoption in retail refrigerated case applications in supermarkets and grocery stores. Customers are seeking to make LEDs standard on all their new case solutions, and are retrofitting old stores and remodels on a large scale to benefit from huge energy and maintenance savings. From a merchandising perspective, Bhargava goes on, “retailers are impressed with lighting uniformity, a neater look and improved color rendering of food products in display cases with LED lighting.”

At University Avenue Market, Paul Fassbender says that the energy savings factor “can be a tough number to judge. We've had an average savings of 10 percent to 12 percent in kilowatt-hours used a day, and as high as 15 percent. It amounts to almost 1,100 hours a day, but it's tough to put a dollar value on it because of the fluctuations in energy pricing.”

Adds Hussmann's Bechen: “Savings have been significant. When we started working with Paul and Bill, their monthly electric bills were running an average of $12,000 to $13,000 a month. The last energy bill that Bill shared was from Dec. 15, 2010, to Jan. 15, 2011, and was for $8,500.”

Fassbender says customer reaction to the new lights has been “nothing but positive. When customers remark on the lights coming up when they get within 14 feet, it gives you an opportunity to explain the savings and how they're passed on to the consumer. It shows customers you're on the cutting edge and environmentally aware. These lights put an efficient emphasis on the product when it needs to be there.”

“These lights put an efficient emphasis on the product when it needs to be there.”—Paul Fassbender, University Avenue Market

In addition, since installation, adds Bechen: “We have yet to replace any components of their lighting system. Customers actually asked Paul if he had installed new cases! One [patron] asked them what made them decide to clean the glass on their cases. Customers also commented that they can't even see the glass on the doors now. It really transformed their store.”

Fassbender says that installation of EcoShine lighting in the produce department is being considered toward the end of this year. “It's key in perishables because of the reduction in heat from fluorescent lighting,” he explains. “I think that when you walk into a store that's bright and alive, it sets the tone and is crucial.”

The Light Fantastic

Store lighting was among the top investment areas in 2010, according to a recent “Energy Management in Retail” study by the Cologne, Germany-based EHI Retail Institute. Lighting generates the highest energy costs for retailers and — in conjunction with inefficient lighting systems — also drives up the costs for air conditioning and cooling of the sales floor.

Following are several newer lighting solutions for food retailers:

■ Sacramento, Calif-based Sunoptics, which supplies daylighting products to retailers such as Walmart, Kroger, Raley's, Giant Eagle, Albertsons, and Whole Foods Market, recently introduced the LightCube daylighting system, specifically designed for stores that have an interior suspended ceiling. The LightCube brings natural light from the exterior, through a high-performance prismatic skylight, into a reflective lightshaft, to the interior diffuser, which spreads the light to the inside.

LightCube comes in 2-foot-by-2-foot, 2-foot-by-4-foot and 4-foot-by-4-foot sizes to maximize application choices and design styles. It features the Sunoptics Signature Series Dome in single-, double- and triple-glazed designs.

For more information, visit

RTLED from Conyers, Ga.-based Lithonia Lighting is a volumetric recessed luminaire that delivers ambient white light uniformly throughout an entire space while reducing energy and maintenance cost and a building's environmental footprint.

Powered by a an advanced LED light engine, the RTLED luminaire delivers an expected 50,000-hour system life and a lighting environment that provides high color rendering (80-plus CRI), 3500K color temperature, and full-range dimming with 0-10V DC control. It's available in 2-foot-by-2-foot, 2-foot-by-4-foot and 1-foot-by-4-foot sizes.

For more information, visit

The Food Lamp from St.Louis-based BAERO North America Inc., designed specifically for produce and other perishables, boosts color wavelengths that fresh foods naturally reflect. The reflectors are designed especially for rectangular produce cases, unlike spotlighting, which leaves some product in the shadows, and the reflectors cover a display area with as few as one-third to one-fifth as many fixtures.

The Food Lamp features HID lamps with an average life of 12,000 hours, and has 99 percent UV-A and UV filtering in both lamps and lenses to eliminate color fading and spoilage from UV and shortwave heat.

For more information, visit

■ The split-chamber checkout lights from D&P Custom Lights & Wiring Systems Inc. in Nashville, Tenn., are available in a number of different sizes — standard sizes are 6/5 inches by 14 inches and 8 inches by 14 inches — and can be customized to harmonize with any color and graphic design. The lights are available with LED, and can be supplied with removable or permanent end caps with texts of choice like “10 Items or Less” or “Cash Only.” Each section of the light can be controlled with separate switches allowing the incorporation of multiple shapes and profiles into one checkout light.

For more information, contact [email protected].

■ The Intelligent Light Engine (ILE) line from Boston-based Digital Lumens consists of high-performance, LED-based luminaires that integrate system-based intelligence to maximize energy efficiency. Featuring three independently amiable LED light bars, each ILE has on-board controls, an integrated occupancy sensor, a kilowatt-hour “odomoter” that keeps track of power use, and wire mesh networking capabilities.

Intended as one-for-one replacements of 400W HID, HPS, and T5 orT8 fluorescent fixtures in racked storage or open-space environments, the engines are available in both highbay and midbay versions to address particular environment requirements.

For more information, visit [email protected].

■ The EfficientLights business of Wake Forest, N.C.-based PowerSecure recently introduced two additional LED lighting products to improve the energy efficiency and quality of light in grocery, convenience and drug stores. The new products are a light for retailers' walk-in freezer/coolers and one for open refrigerated shelves.

Both lights use LEDs in fixtures that combine optimal optics, thermal management and power management to significantly reduce energy costs. Also, an EfficientLights LED lighting forstore parking lots is due to be introduced this fall.

For more information, visit

■Chino, Calif.-based American Bright Lighting Inc. has introduced a new generation of LED replacement lamps for 20- to 35-watt halogen MR16s in applications requiring directional light sources. The new series offers up to 80 percent power savings over commonly used halogen MR16 lamps found in low-voltage track, accent and decorative lighting applications, and has an expected service life of 30,000 hours.

Laboratory testing confirms an efficacy of up to 64 lumens per watt in 5,000K cool white (365 total lumens) and 51 lumens per watt in 2,700K warm white color temperatures (300 total lumens). Each color temperature is available in a choice of three output angles: 15, 30 and 45 degrees. The light output contains no IR or UV.

For more information, visit

■ Eco-story of Portland, Maine, has added LED refrigerated-case lighting fixtures to its portfolio of products. The standard Eco-story case light operates at under 19 watts per door, vs. the industry average of 26 watts, and has a single solid-state power supply and uniform light distribution. Stock color temperature is 3500K with a minimum 80 CRI, and custom color options are available.

The fixture comes in 48-inch, 60-inch and 72-inch versions.

For more information, visit

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds