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Grocery stores and shopping malls throughout the United States are finding that energy efficient commercial lighting not only saves them thousands of dollars a year on their electric bills, it also helps enhance customer experience. With consumer satisfaction being a high priority, coming up with innovative energy saving solutions that also provide a more welcoming environment for customers is paramount to building a better business model.

Detroit-area supermarkets and restaurants switching to LEDs
Nino Salvaggio, a small chain of specialty grocery stores in metro-Detroit, is one of at least a half dozen businesses in the area to install LEDs in their stores over the past couple of years. According to Crain's Detroit Business, along with Nino Salvaggio, two local casinos, a Buffalo Wild Wings franchise and a BMW dealership are just a few of the local businesses that have made the transition to LEDs.

After replacing more than 3,000 halogen lights in stores with low voltage LED lighting, Nino Salvaggio stores were able to reduce their energy usage by 75 percent. The replacement project led to significant financial savings while also enhancing product display and providing a more comforting atmosphere for shoppers.

"We've enhanced the shopping experience as the new lamps provide more natural light illuminating the true and beautiful colors of our produce," said Kirk Taylor, the company's president. "Our fresh produce brought daily to the stores is no longer under the heat of the higher watt bulbs, adding to its freshness. By changing to LEDs, we fully focus the new energy efficient lighting on the variety and scope of our product selections in our many departments."

School supply store installs LEDs
In Cary, N.C., not far from the corporate headquarters of Cree, Inc., one of the world's largest manufacturers of energy efficient lighting, Stone's Education Superstore is set to open its newest location in November. Not coincidentally, it will be taking advantage of the many benefits Cree products, like LED parking lot lights, bestow.

The new store is incorporating a wide range of environmentally friendly design elements throughout the premises, as reported by The Cary Citizen, and soon, it will be selling all of the resources teachers and students need to succeed, while also providing contractors with an example of how new buildings can utilize LED lighting systems.

Arkansas shopping center saves big with lighting retrofit
At the Eagle Mountain Shopping Center, in Batesville, Ark., a recent retrofit of its parking lot and other exterior lighting fixtures has helped the complex cut its outdoor lighting energy consumption by 82 percent, leading to $42,580 in annual energy and maintenance savings.

Additionally, they have added wireless lighting controls that adjust to the sunrise and sunset throughout the year, shutting off and turning on the lights as the environment warrants. But most importantly, the retrofit has received positive reviews from the mall's customers and store owners.

"The tenants have definitely noticed the improved lighting in the shopping center," said Eagle Mountain's property manager, Shelby Carey. "It looks better at night, and our lighting costs have dropped dramatically. My only regret is that we didn't do this sooner."