Lighten your retail overheads with energy-efficient lighting

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For retail businesses, installing the right lights can reduce energy costs by up to 15 per cent

In today’s competitive retail environment, effective lighting is not only a customer expectation, but essential for achieving ‘the right look’ for a retail outlet.

While most retailers recognise the importance of lighting in providing a pleasant shopping and working environment, few merchandisers realise that it’s possible to reduce up to 15 per cent off their energy costs, by installing the right lighting technology.

The retail industry often demands bright, flattering lighting to draw customers and maximise sales but this is seldom very energy-efficient.  Yet there are substantial savings to be made on both the shop floor and in the back office, with many simple and inexpensive ways to reduce the energy consumption and costs associated with high-impact lighting without compromising profits.

Saving energy in a retail business is one of the simplest ways to directly increase margins without the need to grow sales—in fact, a 20 per cent cut in energy costs can represent the same bottom line benefit as a 5 per cent increase in sales, making energy-saving the new profit centre for retail businesses.

It’s estimated that a 20 per cent saving in retail energy costs is achievable nationally in the UK, totalling some £340 million per year across the sector.  And whilst energy costs may be only a small percentage of turnover, they represent a much larger proportion of profit.

By focusing on easily actionable measuresyou’ll be amazed at how simple actions can save energy, cut costs and increase productivity with the quickest payback.

Many energy-saving opportunities are within the control of staff and easily achievable at little to no-cost, which is an ideal way of making energy conservation part of a collaborative staff effort.

Low-to-no cost quick wins

Lighting accounts for anything from 15% to 70% of your total energy costs, depending on the type of store, but there are several quick-fixes you can implement to enhance your energy efficiency and reduce your energy spend:

  • Install energy-efficient lights—LED lights and compact fluorescent products use 80 per cent less electricity than conventional light bulbs
  • Use movement detectors, time switches and daylight sensors
  • Encourage staff to switch lights off when they’re not needed

Lighting’s role in the retail environment

Beyond its basic illumination function, a well-designed lighting scheme must satisfy varied business needs in the retail environment:

  • Sets the mood and atmosphere of the store so that customers will want to enter
  • Directs the customers’attention to the merchandise and stimulates impulse buying
  • Draws attention to the shop and its displays
  • Helps to enhance the store’s image
  • Improves the use of space

From the perspective of the owners and staff of a retail outlet, a lighting scheme should:

  • Provide adequate light to enable transactions to be completed efficiently, leading to fewer errors
  • Provide favourable working conditions to minimise eye fatigue and general tiredness
  • Help to create the brand image of a store or chain of stores
  • Convey an inviting atmosphere within the store
  • Provide an effective deterrent against crime

Selecting energy-efficient lighting

With the vast range of lighting sources, designs and controls now available, modern lighting techniques present abundant energy-saving opportunities, whilst achieving a greatly enhanced level of illumination and visual appeal at minimum cost.

Making the switch to LEDs

Lighting accounts for about 20% of all electricity generated in the UK, but with most current lighting systems still reliant on inefficient light sources, moving to low-energy lighting such as Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) has never been more critical in energy-saving initiatives.

Install low energy lighting

Originally developed for use in electronics, LEDs have become the light source of choice, providing illumination at a fraction of the cost of legacy sources.  LEDs have the highest efficacy and lamp life of all lighting types, are easy to control and have no warm-up period.

They also provide superior colour and contrast, essential in helping to generate sales, particularly in fashion retail where the visual appearance of merchandise is critical, and in food retailing, where produce needs to look appealing.



LED fittings satisfy the demand for superior:

  • Cost, energy and carbon savings
  • Display illumination levels
  • Contrast and highlighting
  • Health and wellbeing
  • High efficacy ratings
  • Glare suppression
  • Colour rendering

LED cost benefits

In addition to providing direct energy savings, LEDs generate further cost savings from:

  • Reduced heat gain: LEDs produce very little waste heat compared to conventional sources, reducing the need for additional cooling on warm days
  • Longer lamp lifespan: this equates to lower and less frequent maintenance costs
  • Better controllability: through dimming and instantaneous switch on and off

Boost your energy-efficiency—and bottom line

There are varied other ways to bring your business energy bills down, by introducing energy-efficient best practices into your store without compromising service levels or health and safety concerns.

“Switch off” policy

Involve staff and increase awareness

  • Involve staff at all levels in savings efforts by encouraging them to turn off light switches
  • Clearly label light switches to help employees know which ones they can turn off
  • Switch off lights in unoccupied areas

Maintenance

Without regular maintenance, light levels can fall by at least 30% in 2-3 years

Establishing a basic lighting maintenance programme can reduce costs by up to 15 per cent while improving in-store appearance:

  • Replace old, dim lamps, and keep controls in good working order by ensuring timers are set to match trading hours
  • Ensure windows, skylights, light fittings and occupancy sensors are kept clean

Refurbishment

Design for adequate, but not excessive, levels of light

Specific display items that require high light levels will benefit from local task lighting, rather than illuminating the whole store to a high level.

Invest in sensors

Occupancy sensors

Installing an occupancy sensor with a photocell override to give the option of keeping lights off on bright days can achieve savings of up to 50% on lighting costs.  These automatically turn lights on when a room is occupied and turn them off after a period of vacancy.

Daylight sensors

Light sensors or ‘photocells’ can be used to dim or turn off artificial lighting when there’s sufficient natural daylight.  As daylight hours vary throughout the year, sensors help to provide closer control and thus, substantial savings and often pay back their costs in less than a year.

Both types of control are sometimes combined with time switches.

Simple energy solutions with a big payoff

Combined, these relatively simple solutions help you save money, increase your staff productivity, and reduce your carbon footprint—all of which enhances your Triple D bottom line.

As one of the UK’s largest business-to-business utilities brokers,contact us hereto get more expert advice on how you can save thousands on your utility bills with our smart energy solutions.