Greener Bulbs

Retailers see the light, take eco-friendly steps

BEAVERTON, Ore. -- Retailers from both ends of the country are examining environmentally friendly ways to approach their lighting needs.

Some are accessing financial aid to install LED (light emitting diode) lighting, while a Saratoga Springs, N.Y.-based chain is continuing its partnership with a fluorescent-lighting recycling plant.

Barbagallo's Express Mart, a convenience store and gas station in East Syracuse, N.Y, is saving more than $2,000 per year after a LED gas station canopy lighting retrofit with assistance from Waltham, Mass.-based National Grid and its small business program. Barbagallo's also received a $4,854 rebate and interest-free financing for two years from National Grid.

SmartWatt Energy, the Albany, N.Y., firm that installed the lighting, conducted a complimentary energy analysis then proposed a plan to replace Barbagallo's existing exterior gas station canopy lighting with more energy-efficient LED lighting. According to National Grid, the LED lighting retrofit will pay for itself in about 33 months.

SmartWatt Energy is the sole administrator and implementation contractor for National Grid's Small Business Program in Central and Northern New York. Through this program, National Grid will pay up to 70% of the installation costs and finance the remaining amount interest-free for up to 2 years.

Across the country, the Beaverton, Ore.-based Highland Chevron gas station and ExtraMile food market recently underwent extensive eco-friendly renovations, including the installation of energy-efficient interior and exterior LED lighting by Cree Inc., Durham, N.C. The addition of Cree LED fixtures supports Highland Chevron's mission of becoming a zero-energy establishment.

The site was also featured in the January 2012 issue of CSPmagazine. Click here to view.

Rebuilt from the ground up, the Highland Chevron store (pictured) is fully lit with Cree LED luminaires under the exterior canopy and inside the c-store--delivering energy savings estimated at nearly 70% over the old non-LED fixtures. According to Bob Barman, owner of the Highland Chevron, the indoor and outdoor LED lighting allows the station to consume a third less energy than typical 24-hour c-stores and petroleum stations. Barman estimates that the new Cree luminaires should provide payback in 2.5 years and the financial savings just add up after that. The Beaverton Chevron anticipates more than a decade of virtually maintenance-free operation.

"The payoff is more than what is saved in energy consumption and cost," said Barman. "The payoff is also intangible--it's what your customers think of you as a leader in sustainability and how you think of yourself--it's just the right thing to do."

"The only time I'm going to think about my lighting is when I'm showing it off," said Barman. "The high-quality LED light makes everything appear brighter and safer--and that translates into a better customer experience.'

A total of 24 Cree 304 Series recessed canopy luminaires with petroleum symmetric optics replaced the original 368-watt metal halide fixtures on the fueling canopy. Based on BetaLED Technology, the 105-watt 304 Series luminaires provide "NanoOptic" lighting control with little to no spill-off into neighboring areas, helping Highland Chevron comply with local light pollution ordinances. In addition, 330-watt fluorescent fixtures were replaced by 27 Cree 304 Series pendant-mount luminaires in the ExtraMile food market.

Other green features of the site include 180 solar panels on the fueling canopy and store rooftop, capable of delivering nearly one-third of a typical gas station's electricity needs. Highland Chevron also installed a geothermal well that exchanges heat through groundwater to naturally cool water for the store's refrigeration cases, while water pipes store heat from cooling units underground for hot water usage.

"Energy efficient and near maintenance-free LED lighting is ideal for the 7/24 operations of gas stations and convenience stores," said Andy Strickland, Cree vice president, petroleum lighting. "Cree's LED products offer the Beaverton Chevron early payback and financial savings over their lifetime."

On the recycling front, eLot Recycling Inc., Troy, N.Y., a full-service recycling company, unveiled a new light-bulb recycling plant for New York State and the surrounding regions, which many businesses--including area c-store chains--use.

The new plant recycles any type of lamp or light bulb including toxic "HID," compact fluorescents (CFLs) and will serve the entire Northeast's commercial sector. Any residential or commercial business, municipality, hospital, school and university that has an excess of waste bulbs or any type of replacement bulbs can enlist eLot to pick up and recycle the materials at the most affordable cost as it is now encouraged by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

eLot already recycles much of the Northeast's electronic materials such as computers and printers in addition to batteries, all of which are now banned from landfills by the DEC. Commercial companies are obligated to recycle all electronic waste and batteries with certified organizations like eLot.

"We are always looking for greener ways to do things and eLot has helped us get there. Since 2008 we have been a regular eLot customer, safely recycling thousands of fluorescent bulbs," said Gary Dake, president of Stewart's Shops, Saratoga Springs, N.Y. "They have been an asset in our recycling efforts."