Convenience Store Owners Find Payoff in LED Lights
Everyone knows the places well. They are the comforting light that is barely visible along the long, dark and lonely highway. Quick shop, neighborhood grocery or convenience store, whatever the name, we all know what they mean. Whether it’s candy bars, cigarettes, or a tank of gas and a good cup of joe, the good old quickie mart is there to grant your every wish—24 hours a day, 7 days a week, holidays and hurricanes too.
But these travelers’ treasures are also serious energy hogs. Icy air conditioning, blazing canopy lights and chilly coolers are just a few of the pigs that can be found eating their hearts out every hour of every single day. What if there were something that could quell their appetite, or at least re-direct it? What if it was LED lighting?
Wawa, Inc., owner of more than 600 convenience store locations across the Mid-Atlantic region, wanted visually appealing, simple-to-install vertical refrigerated display lighting. The company found the answer in Immersion™ RV30 LED technology from GE Lighting Solutions. GE also helped Wawa to drive down energy consumption, and the company now enjoys combined energy and maintenance savings over the old lights in the tune of over $1 million a year.
“In 2006 we saw our utility budget increasing between 12 and 15 percent over each of the previous five years,” explained Scott Boorse, energy and petroleum operations manager for Wawa. “In response, we created an energy group to determine where the money was going. It turned out lighting accounted for 30 percent of our electric usage. At that time we were building bigger stores with more coolers, so we started to look at ways to significantly reduce our energy consumption and found LED refrigerated display lighting a compelling answer.”
In Beaverton, Oregon, the Highland Chevron gas station and ExtraMile food market recently underwent extensive eco-renovations, including the installation of energy-efficient interior and exterior LED lighting in support of their mission of becoming a zero-energy establishment. Rebuilt from the ground up, the Highland Chevron store is fully lit with LED lights under the exterior canopy and inside the convenience store. This combination delivers energy savings estimated at nearly 70 percent over the old non-LED fixtures. According to Bob Barman, owner of the Highland Chevron, the indoor and outdoor LED lighting allows the station to consume one-third less energy than typical 24-hour convenience stores. He also estimates that the new LED lights should provide payback in 2.5 years and the financial savings just add up after that. The Beaverton Chevron anticipates more than a decade of virtually maintenance-free operation.
“The payoff is more than what is saved in energy consumption and cost,” said Barman. “The payoff is also intangible—it’s what your customers think of you as a leader in sustainability and how you think of yourself—it’s just the right thing to do.”
“The only time I’m going to think about my lighting is when I’m showing it off,” he says. “The high-quality LED light makes everything appear brighter and safer—and that translates into a better customer experience.”
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