Mega retailer Walmart announced at the National Retail Federation Big Show that it had installed more than 1.5 million SSL fixtures in more than 6000 stores, parking lots, distribution centers, and corporate offices.
Walmart and Current, powered by GE used the National Retail Federation Big Show to announce that their long partnership in energy-efficient LED lighting has reached more than 1.5 million luminaires installed in the retailer’s stores, parking lots, distribution centers, and corporate offices. Walmart said the decade-long solid-state lighting (SSL) transition has saved the company more than $100 million in energy costs over the period. Still, it remains a mystery as to if or when Walmart would make a move in smart lighting and the Internet of Things (IoT), whether to compound savings through autonomous controls or to leverage applications such as indoor location services to potentially increase sales.
Walmart said the indoor general-lighting retrofit initiative that we covered starting in 2014 has spanned more than 6000 stores. The company had begun the transition to LED-based outdoor area lighting back in 2009 working with the US Department of Energy (DOE) on one of its Caliper programs. And it began installing GE’s LED-based lighting for refrigerated cases in 2005.
“The ripple effect from these LED conversions throughout the business is truly staggering. We believe that by continuing to reduce one of our biggest operating expenses, we’re supporting future innovation and delivering on our promise of Every Day Low Prices,” said Mark Vanderhelm, Walmart’s vice president of energy. “Energy is one of the key operating expenses that we can reduce while delivering system upgrades that improve the customer shopping experience.”
Outdoor LED lighting by GE's Current division as seen in this Walmart parking lot has played a big part in helping the mass retailer meet its energy reduction goals.
It was in part ironic that Vanderhelm would mention shopper experience when the retailer has kept its IoT plans private while other retailers such as Target have publicly deployed indoor location services both to increase sales and customer satisfaction. We had the chance to meet with a Walmart executive during a GE luncheon back in 2014 at LightFair International, and at the time the executive said the company was testing the technology at its Walmart Innovation Lab. But the company has kept any such deployments, if there are any, quiet.
What Walmart has installed are Current luminaires that feature outstanding light quality. The newest indoor LED lighting retrofits are utilizing products that implement the TriGain narrow-line phosphor technology developed within GE and exclusively used by Current today in general-illumination products. We discussed the first TriGain-enabled luminaires in a 2016 feature article. And we have a video interview with a GE executive from 2015 discussing how the technology delivers high CRI without an efficacy penalty.
In the 2014 story we mentioned above, Walmart said its LED lighting partnership with GE was targeted at reducing the energy used per square foot by 20% by 2020. In the release just issued by Walmart and Current, the company said it had cut usage already by 10% per square foot. Walmart also said it planned to cut carbon emissions related to its energy usage by 18% before 2025, relative to 2015.