GE Lighting supplies LED T8s to 7-Eleven, announces new street lights in Asia

South Thailand convenience stores get energy savings and lighting improvements from LED-based T8 tubes while GE Lighting brings a new scalable LED street light design to China and other Asian markets.

GE Lighting supplies LED T8s to 7-Eleven, announces new street lights in Asia
GE Lighting supplies LED T8s to 7-Eleven, announces new street lights in Asia

GE Lighting has announced a series of retrofit projects with Thailand 7-Eleven convenience stores in which LED-based T8 tubes will be used to retrofit traditional fluorescent fixtures delivering energy savings and improvements in light quality. Also targeting the Asia market, GE has introduced new LED street lights based on chip-on-board (COB) LEDs and revealed an initial project using the design at the XianyangWeicheng Bridge in China.

Convenience stores

The GE convenience store projects are located in the Yala, Pattani, and Narathiwat Provinces covering 20 7-Eleven stores operated by Yala Seven Co. The franchise operator of the stores sought to both improve the lighting quality in the markets for shoppers while also reducing energy costs.

LED T8 tube technology has been a relatively controversial topic as early on the replacement tubes trailed the performance of legacy fluorescent products considerably. But more recently the LED tubes have clearly improved. We recently covered retrofit projects in some Burger King restaurants that used LED tubes. Moreover, recent Caliper testing by the US Department of Energy (DOE) revealed that the products are improving, although generally they still trail fluorescent products in terms of total lumen output.

In real-world applications, projects are increasingly demonstrating the tubes to be a viable option in terms of efficiency and performance. In the Thailand project, GE and Yala Seven report that the tubes offer superior color rendering to fluorescent tubes, and such an advantage has been shown to boost sales in a retail application. Furthermore, the partners say that the tubes deliver more uniform light distribution.

"In a convenience store that is operating round-the-clock, the role of lighting is critical in ensuring a well-lit space that meets the multiple objectives of branding, operational safety, comfortable retail experience, and attractive product displays," said Jatupong Jaturawong, general manager of GE Lighting Thailand.

"The GE LED solution brings a good level of illumination to our stores," said Pracha Sirichai, managing director of Yala Seven. "This has enhanced the store displays and reinforced our brand’s strong image." Sirichai said the shoppers have provided very positive feedback in the store at which the lighting has been installed already. The project commenced at the end of 2013.

The efficiency advantages for the latest LED tubes, meanwhile, are unquestioned. GE said that in the convenience store project that the LED tubes will deliver $44,000 in annual energy savings across the 20 stores. The company equated the savings to eliminating 313,910 kg of carbon emissions per year.

Yala Seven's Sirichai added, "Within just two months of implementing the LED lights, we are already recording a lower electrical cost compared to other stores that are presently using more traditional lights." Indeed, lighting is a major cost for such businesses.

"As one of the key cost components for such an environment, the lighting solution that we propose should be highly energy efficient as well," said GE's Jaturawong. "With the advent of LED technology, today’s business owners may now benefit directly from lower energy costs and enjoy better illumination."

Street lights and China bridge

Moving to the outdoor space, GE has a new modular and scalable street light design for the Asian market. The Eco R250 luminaire (shown above) is a modular approach that can combine multiple COB LEDs to deliver a range of lumen packages for different types of roadways with varying illumination requirements.

GE has employed the scalable approach in other designs around the globe. For example, in North America, the company sells the GE Evolve LED Roadway Scalable Cobrahead fixtures. We recently covered a lighting project in Oakland, CA that leveraged the scalable concept.

While both the Evolve and Eco R250 designs use multiple light engines to deliver the requisite light output, the design is quite different. The COB approach in the Eco R250 would typically result in a simpler lower-cost design with somewhat less precise beam control relative to the Evolve design. But the R250 is clearly a fit for many applications across Asia. The product family can deliver 3600 to 28,800 lm.

Indeed, the first notable project using the new fixture is the XianyangWeicheng Bridge, the largest single-pylon cable-stayed bridge in Northwest China. GE said that the new lighting has yielded a 40% to 50% improvement in light levels while the project will deliver energy and maintenance savings for years to come.

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