First US commercial LED-lit building opens in Auburn, WA

Oct. 16, 2009
The Marvel Food and Deli has utilized LEDs for both interior and exterior lighting, with positive feedback from the public and only 9 kW of power consumption.
The Marvel Food and Deli which opened its doors early in June 2009, is the first commercial new construction in the U.S. to be outfitted exclusively with LEDs. The 16,000 sq.ft supermarket and deli is situated on a 43,000 sq.ft lot and utilized LEDs for both interior and exterior lighting.

The supermarket industry has recently embraced LED technology, with research showing that LED lighting reduce energy consumption by as much as 60 percent. Marvel Food & Deli owner Andrey Ivanstov was introduced to LEDs by his energy conservation consultant, Javad Maadanian, president of 3 Co. (Collaborative Constructions Consulting Company).

Maadanian, who has assessed LED lighting for commercial, industrial and residential applications over the past four years, reviewed and recommended lighting, HVAC and refrigeration equipment, as well as control alternatives to meet operational requirements while significantly reducing energy and maintenance costs for this project.

"LED is at the stage that the compact fluorescent (CFL) was over 10 years ago and its use is gaining acceptance in the industry as standards are being developed," says Maadanian. "LED offers higher efficiency with no environmental impact during disposal…LED presents a strong alternative to competitive technologies such as fluorescent, metal halide and high-pressure sodium (HPS) lighting," he added. The longevity of LEDs is another attractive feature as they greatly reduce maintenance costs over their 50,000+ hour lifetime.

The product selection and installation was directed by electrical contractor Aleksey Guyvoronsky, owner of 5 Star Electric in Auburn. After conducting extensive internet research and interviews, he selected LEDs designed and manufactured by Michigan based Clean Light Green Light (CLGL).

"I was impressed by CLGL’s CEO David McKinney's knowledge" said Guyvoronsky. "I was also impressed by the quality of the product, the easy installation, and competitive pricing in comparison to other LED options on the market." LED fluorescent tube replacements, recess cans, wall packs, and parking lot lights were utilized.

According to Guyvoronsky, in order to meet Washington State's energy code, the project needed to come in at 27 kW. By pairing the CLGL LEDs with control systems, he orchestrated several lighting "scenes" maximizing the lighting efficiency in accordance to specific zonal needs and time of day both inside and outside. He was able to bring the project in at under 9 kW.

"The level of lighting delivered compared to the energy use is very impressive, and the performance of the Clean Light Green Light products has been beyond my expectations" commented Maadanian, the project energy consultant. "Marvel Food and Deli utilizes close to 100% LED for all interior and exterior lighting and could be considered as a model for similar applications."

Owner Ivanstov added that the lighting is wonderful and that the public feedback he is getting is always positive. Emerging research indicates that the absence of UV rays and full spectrum light quality of LEDs make for a happier, healthier and more productive population as we humans are photobiotic beings requiring light absorption for optimum health.

By utilizing the LEDs and other energy-efficiency measures, Marvel Food and Deli became eligible for a grant from Puget Sound Energy (PSE), its local energy provider. An increasing number of US utility companies are offering financial incentives for new installations of LEDs and retrofits of older lighting systems. Partnering with a local utility can reduce costs substantially, further motivating inquiries and investment in LEDs.

"This is the first project that we have seen where LEDs were used exclusively," said Corey Corbett, Energy Management Engineer with PSE. "In facilities with high operating hours such as this one, we will probably see more of these projects."

Ivanstov commented that he has noticed a "very reasonable" electric bill. In addition to utility rebates, the improved energy efficiency can make businesses eligible for corporate tax exemptions under new federal stimulus programs.

Numerous energy analysts from both the public and private sectors have identified improved lighting efficiency as one of the simplest and fastest ways to reduce U.S. energy consumption and impact carbon emissions. As noted in the recent New York Times article, a report by McKinsey & Company cited conversion to LED lighting as potentially the most cost effective of a number of simple approaches to tackling global warming using existing technology.

The environmental benefits are relatively well documented, but there's more to consider. With rising energy costs, challenging economic conditions, and the current administration's stimulus funds to improve energy efficiency, LEDs offer a viable way to improve a business's bottom line while simultaneously contributing to the global quest for sustainability.

Clean Light Green Light’s Dave McKinney, who pioneered early LED product out of a garage 10 years ago, has been instrumental in the development of top quality, energy efficient, solid-state lighting solutions that are setting industry standards. When asked about Clean Light Green Light product being selected for this pivotal project he responded "We are pleased to have supplied our products for this project. Working closely with the planning and installation team, we were able to show the utility that the product could compete with its traditional counterparts. In fact, we were able to demonstrate that we could light the facility at their designated light levels, while simultaneously creating a large energy savings, and lower maintenance and lighting costs for many years to come. This shows that the technology isn't just here to stay, but is a cost effective option that will change the face of lighting and energy usage for future generations."