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Report: Lighting the way to greener retail

We’re publishing reports on all kinds of subjects around clean tech, green business and sustainability.

Here’s a summary of one such report by Nualight. You can download the whole thing by clicking the words ‘lighting-the-way-to-greener-retail‘.

Here’s a bit about it:

Replacing environmentally unfriendly fluorescent tubes with digital lighting in refrigerated display equipment drastically lowers energy consumption

Mid-size retailer with 100 stores could save up to £550,000 (€720,000) a year in energy and maintenance bills

Food retailers can make significant savings to their energy bills if they replace fluorescent lighting with digital lighting in refrigerated display equipment. A study conducted by pioneering LED lighting module manufacturer Nualight reveals that digital lighting can save retailers more than 50% of their annual lighting bill for refrigerated display environments. For a mid-size retailer with 100 stores, this means a saving of around £550,000 (€720,000) a year in energy bills.

The highest density of energy usage in supermarkets is in refrigerated displays, which account for 50 to 70% of total power consumption. The typical lighting used in refrigerated displays is fluorescent tubes and by virtue of their relative inefficiency, combined with the waste heat they produce within the chilled environment, they consume a lot of excessive energy.  Nualight’s research found that by replacing traditional fluorescent lighting with digital lighting, based on light-emitting diodes (LEDs), energy consumption is halved and merchandising appeal is considerably improved.

Speaking recently at Euroshop 2008, the global retail trade fair, Dr. Kelly, CEO of Nualight, said:

“Being green makes good business sense; digital lighting is not only environmentally friendly but is also cost effective.  The days of fluorescent lighting are numbered as more energy efficient and environmentally friendly solutions are developed. Our research showed that retailers that implement digital lighting in refrigeration display cabinets can achieve reduced costs, merchandising differentiation and improved retail environments.“

The paper also revealed that digital lighting has an overall better quality of light than fluorescents, making products sparkle.  As digital lighting illumination is instant, it can be directed to where it is most needed and individualises products, making them more appealing to consumers.

As part of the research, Nualight undertook a test with one of its retail customers measuring the effect of using digital lighting in display cases.  The retailer replaced fluorescent tubes in a cabinet on one side of an aisle with digital lighting while keeping fluorescents lighting in the facing cabinet.  The retailer found sales in the cabinet lit with Nualight digital lighting modules were 19% higher than when it had used fluorescent lighting.  The paper says the effect of increased sales due to better illumination should not be surprising.  Apart from the difficulty in seeing the products on sale in poorly lit displays, the paper found there is a customer perception that if the lights are not working, neither is the refrigeration.

Dr Kelly continues:

“The food retail industry is rapidly evolving as it adapts to new customer demands.  With customers increasingly going online, retailers need to create ‘leisure destinations’ with ambient surroundings and new experiences.  Lighting is a key tactic to creating these environments and digital lighting is the next generation technology to achieve this.”

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