At The Fresh Market—an old-world, European-style market with stores throughout the Eastern U.S.—shoppers are greeted by an open-air layout, friendly staff and quality fresh foods displayed daily. Deciding to test updated indoor lighting at its new stores—to be followed by updated lighting at some existing stores—the grocer wanted an energy-saving LED replacement lamp that delivered a high color rendering index (CRI) and long life. The Fresh Market found its answer in GE's energy smart® 17-watt LED PAR38 Retail lamp.
The specialty grocery retailer first started to evaluate its lighting energy costs in 2011 and began researching the potential to save money across its property portfolio. With an understanding of lighting as a long-term investment, not a decision to be made quickly, The Fresh Market launched into a thorough trial and evaluation period with the help of its distributor partner Illuminating Technologies.
“We didn't just replace 10 or 15 lights in one area of the store—we actually asked suppliers to provide us with 300 lamps for a complete store retrofit so our executives could properly evaluate the light levels, quality and spread,” says Paul Poole, energy and engineering manager for The Fresh Market. “While saving energy is important to us, an essential element of The Fresh Market's concept is the visual appeal of different foods and unique environments for our customers throughout.”
GE's PAR38 LED Retail lamps were selected to replace 64-watt halogen bulbs in The Fresh Market locations, both for the product's energy savings as well as its initial lumen output and lower lumen depreciation. Unlike conventional light sources, LED lamps tend not to “fail” suddenly. Rather, light output gradually diminishes over a long period of time—for instance, GE's lamps can be expected to maintain at least 70 percent of initial lumen output after 50,000 hours of operation.
As well, GE's exclusive Visual Comfort Lens™ technology was a key factor in the grocer's final decision. The special lens diffuses the light produced by individual LED diodes to eliminate the “spots” that can appear on food or in reflective surfaces when using lamps with exposed diodes. The new PAR38 LED lamps helped The Fresh Market maintain its retail atmosphere by enhancing the color quality of goods while reducing glare, consuming less energy and generating less heat than the traditional halogen lamps they replaced.
Results & Benefits
The Fresh Market has installed nearly 17,000 PAR38 LED replacement lamps in its stores since March 2011, with remaining installations to be completed this year.
Prior to the switch, an average grocery store housing 300 64-watt halogen lamps would consume about 107,800 kWh of electricity a year. Now, stores outfitted with GE's 17-watt PAR38 LED replacement lamps, a product of GE ecomagination℠, stand to use about 28,600 kWh—or nearly 80,000 fewer kWh a year. This will translate to just over a two-year payback period for most stores. Some locations have even captured energy-efficient lighting rebates because of their initiative, helping to further drive down project costs.
Once all 130+ locations are complete, The Fresh Market's comprehensive lighting update will translate to a total annual energy reduction of more than 10 million kWh among a range of other benefits including reduced maintenance.
“As we started to replace the old halogen bulbs with LED lamps, we realized we were taking the first stage of heat out of the building. As a result, we don't have to run our HVAC systems as much because less heat is generated from other equipment in the building,” explained Poole. “Add to that the anticipated time savings from our store managers replacing bulbs—LEDs have a 50,000-hour life compared to halogen's 3,000-hour life—and there is very low risk with this project. Moving forward, we plan to take a hard look at any store lighting that isn't currently LED.”