LEDs take heat out of cold storage lighting for Associated Grocers of New England
October 02, 2012 - MMH Editorial
Associated Grocers of New England is one of the nation’s largest retailer-owned purchasing and distribution cooperatives, serving more than 600 independent food stores throughout New England and upstate New York. Like most cold storage warehousing facilities, the company has wrestled with the high energy and maintenance costs associated with lighting refrigerated spaces. With a new intelligent system of LED lights, the company significantly reduced energy and maintenance costs while improving safety.
Cold temperatures put a significant strain on the facility’s traditional fluorescent fixtures in the 20,600-square-foot cold storage area. This lead to decreased lighting output, high lamp burnout rates and ongoing maintenance issues. Maintained at a consistent -15°F operating temperature, the existing fixtures simply consumed too much energy, required too much maintenance and fell well-short of the cooperative’s sustainability goals.
By incorporating smart LED fixtures—all with built-in occupancy sensors, wireless networking and software controls—the new intelligent lighting system improved energy efficiency savings, flexibility and control over how lighting was used within the cold storage area.
“For years, lighting our cold storage areas has been fraught with challenges, ranging from durability and efficiency issues, to heat dissipation and its impact on refrigeration loads,” says Bruce Courtois, facilities manager for AG New England. “Then we installed the new system and, literally overnight, all of these problems just simply went away. To say that we were pleased with the outcome would be an understatement.”
In addition to performing well in cold environments, the system enabled AG New England to improve light levels from 9 foot-candles to 25 foot-candles while reducing energy usage by up to 90%. The company saved more than 482,000 kWh/year, reducing operating costs by more than $52,000 annually. The reduced heat output also reduces demand on refrigeration systems, further increasing energy savings. The durability of the new lights virtually eliminated ongoing maintenance such as re-lamping and re-ballasting. It also enhanced workplace safety through improved light levels and quality.
Read more Casebook 2013.