Florida grocer replaces T8s with Cree CS18 LED fixtures

July 19, 2012
New Leaf Market realized 57% energy savings and a substantial life-cycle cost reduction by moving from T8 fluorescent lighting to Cree Lighting linear LED fixtures.

The cooperatively-owned New Leaf Market grocery in Tallahassee, Florida sought to revamp the lighting in its 13,700-ft2 store, and considered replacing older T8 fluorescent fixtures with either newer T8s or LED fixtures. LEDs won out based on lower life-cycle over 50,000 hours of use and greater energy savings, and the grocer realized higher-quality lighting of its goods.

New Leaf Market with T8s

Manufacturers representative Craig Ripple & Associates and electrical contractor Weston-Trawick worked with New Leaf on the retrofit project. The parties were faced with replacing 34 6-lamp T8 fixtures that provided direct/indirect lighting.

Retrofit options

The grocer considered two primary options for the retrofit, both focused on an upgrade that would use 38 new more-energy-efficient fixtures. One option was more-efficient T8 Philips Lighting, Energy Advantage fixtures with 4 lamps. The second option was the Cree Lighting CS18 LED luminaires. Both options provided direct lighting.

An analysis of life-cycle costs and energy savings led to the LED choice. New Leaf projected the cost over 50,000 hours of usage and included upfront costs, energy usage, the cost of replacement lamps and maintenance costs. The analysis was applied to doing nothing but continuing to replace the existing lamps and the two options discussed above.

Staying with the existing fixtures would have cost $64.787 - dominated by energy costs but also with greater lamp and maintenance costs than the retrofit options. The new T8s would have cost $59,189 while the LEDs were projected to cost $36,632. In the case of the LED fixtures there is zero projected lamp or maintenance cost over 50,000 hours.

New Leaf Market with Cree CS18 fixtures

The grocer expects to save 57% in energy costs with the Cree fixtures. The new T8 fixtures would have delivered 19% energy savings.

New lighting benefits

It turns out that the retrofit with LED lamps went more smoothly than New Leaf expected. Robby Gilliom, service manager at Weston-Trawick, said the contractor installed half the lights in one night. That installation provided the opportunity for the nearby before and after photos.

According to Gilliom, the upgrade in light levels and quality was immediately noticeable even on the lower grocery shelves. Moreover, the LED lights featured a color rendering index (CRI) over 90, improving the look of the merchandise.

"Colors really pop now, with our new LED fixtures. The apples really do shine brighter. And the amount of additional light also has been impressive," said Larrane Hartridge, general manager, New Leaf Market. "Customers have commented on how much better things look, without even knowing why."

Cree says that the grocer will only need eight months to recover the upfront cost of the LEDs relative to the energy and maintenance that the store would have spent on the old lights.