The Fresh Market is a specialty grocer with more than 100 stores across more than 20 US states, and is in the midst of a company-wide transition to solid-state lighting (SSL) with the aim of reducing energy usage and providing a superior shopping experience for customers. The grocer is replacing 64W halogen lighting with GE Energy Smart 17W LED PAR38 Retail lamps, and has already installed 17,000 lamps.
The Fresh Market initiated the LED project in 2011 working with distributor Illuminating Technologies to evaluate potential LED-based replacements for its halogen lighting. The management team wanted to save energy, but also wanted to preserve the ambiance and improve the quality of lighting on the products. The European-style markets feature an open-air layout with prominent produce bins, meat and cheese cases, and bakery goods.
The grocer sought to test whole-store retrofits from the start of the project. "We didn't just replace 10 or 15 lights in one area of the store — we actually asked suppliers to provide us with 300 lamps for a complete store retrofit so our executives could properly evaluate the light levels, quality, and spread," says Paul Poole, energy and engineering manager for The Fresh Market. "While saving energy is important to us, an essential element of The Fresh Market's concept is the visual appeal of different foods and unique environments for our customers throughout the stores."
PAR lamps deliver life and lumens
Ultimately The Fresh Grocer and Illuminating Technologies settled on the GE PAR38 lamps because of the lumen output and low lumen depreciation that would enable 50,000 hours of usage. But the lamps also proved to deliver on the aesthetics sought by the grocer. The lamps have enhanced the color appearance of the produce and other goods, reduced glare, and reduced heat that can in turn extend produce shelf life.
The Visual Comfort Lens integrated into the PAR38 lamps is in part responsible for the success of the retrofit. The lens both reduces glare and ensures that there are no spot or pixel effects created by the individual LEDs used in the lamps.
The grocer plans to complete the company-wide retrofit this year. Prior to the LED transition, a typical store using 312 lamps would consume 107,800 kWh annually. That number drops to 28,600 kWh with the LED lamps in place.
The LED transition is also leading to secondary benefits in energy and maintenance savings. "As we started to replace the old halogen bulbs with LED lamps, we realized we were taking the first stage of heat out of the building," said Poole. "As a result, we don't have to run our HVAC systems as much because less heat is generated from other equipment in the building. Add to that the anticipated time savings from our store managers replacing bulbs — LEDs have a 50,000-hour life compared to halogen's 3,000-hour life — and there is very low risk with this project."