Heinen's Grocery Store first fashioned plans to refashion many of its 19 neighborhood locations nearly five years ago. As efforts progressed, so did the grocer's interest in the latest energy-efficient innovations for commercial buildings, particularly LED lighting.
“We were always re-lamping,” said Bill Wells, director of store planning, regarding some Heinen's locations. “In the aisles we used a pendant-mounted HID fixture that was fine for many years. The thing was, half the lamps died before their rated life, while others lived well beyond it.”
In four stores, Wells first opted for a T5 solution, making Heinen's Grocery Store an early adopter of the highly efficient fluorescent technology. In the center ceiling, overtop of main aisles, 350-watt HID fixtures were converted to single lamp high output (HO) T5 arrangements.
“Our ceilings are pretty high, around 16 to 18 feet. With HID you have to generate a lot of light at the source to get it to the floor. And there's glare—almost a haze,” said Wells. “We brought the new T5 fixtures down several feet, which helped to hit the bottom shelves, and it gave us a good, even light on all the product surfaces. Overall it was much better than HID.
“But we were still hoping for an LED solution.”
At last, at Heinen's Grocery Store in Twinsburg, Wells' patience was rewarded with an LED fixture that promised to leave replacement lamps in the past. Leff Electric, a long-trusted electrical supply distributor, presented him with GE's new Lumination™ IS Series LED Luminaire, a product of GE ecomagination℠.
“GE jumped ahead with this suspended linear fixture—my first reaction was ‘wow!'” Wells said. “It's cool and cutting edge. In fact, we were about to go with another option until Leff said to us, ‘Hold on, GE has something we really think will work for you.'
“The price was right, the product fit our needs, and we knew GE would stand behind its commitment, so we decided to go with the Lumination LED fixture. GE also presented different lighting designs and helped determine the final layout. And still, you just don't know what you're getting into until you install it, so having Leff there to see that everything went smoothly was a benefit.
“The first time I looked at the aisles versus those that didn't have the light—it was a double wow!”
Results & Benefits
Unlike traditional fluorescent lamps, Lumination IS Series luminaires provide an indirect light source for a more sophisticated appearance. The suspended LED fixtures offer long 65,000-hour life that will help slash the grocer's annual re-lamping costs, and both 1'x4' and 1'x8' models snap together to create long continuous runs above aisles.
Moving ahead, Heinen's Grocery Store will evaluate additional LED lighting options from GE including Albeo™ high bay fixtures to add “punch” in its produce departments. Already, GE's Evolve™ LED Area Lights have been installed in one store parking lot and soon will be added to a warehouse location as well.
As for Wells, he believes Heinen's Grocery Store has found its answer.
“If I can cut my electric cost and my maintenance cost, who wouldn't do that? It just makes good business sense.
“LED got rid of lamps—now we have assets.”