For Sports Junkies owner Peter Hoffmann, reducing waste is a key part of the environmental consciousness that guides his business. The Vancouver-based shop deals in used sporting goods.
"We're in the recycling business," explains Hoffman. "People recycle their sporting goods and reduce items going to the landfill. Anything we can do to help the environment is something we're interested in."
So, when Hoffmann learned he could save energy by changing his lights from halogen to LED, he went for it.
As a result, Sports Junkies is not only saving energy, but money too. "It looks like I'm saving almost $2,000 a year over a few different Hydro accounts," Hoffmann says.
He adds that come summer there might be additional savings as well. "LEDs give out much less heat, they're more efficient that way, so I think we reduced our air conditioning bills in the summer, too."
Finding the Right Light for the Job
If you feel inspired, here are a few aspects of lighting you should keep in mind:
- Suitability of the new lighting to the existing fixtures – will the fixtures have to be upgraded and will this incur more cost
- Lighting requirements and system layout – do you need more lighting in specific areas or around certain products, do you want movement sensitive lights etc.
- Appearance and quality of the light necessary for the application – do you want a warm and cozy feel, or a cool environment that encourages productivity
One of the challenges for Hoffmann's lighting supplier was finding bulbs that would fit the shop's existing track light systems. After much searching they found lamps to fit all the existing fixtures and, Hoffman says, "They used flood-type lamps that have more variability," so the LEDs are more multi-directional than they would otherwise be.
You can also choose the type and quality of light that you use for your business. These two things can be measured by a light’s colour temperature and colour rendering index (CRI). Colour temperature is the measure of the warm (yellow) or cool (blue) appearance of light. The CRI describes how a light source makes the color of an object appear to human eyes.
LEDs and the Retail Environment
One of the advantages of LEDs in a retail environment is that they have a constant colour temperature that can be easily manipulated to suit an application. The CRI becomes particularly important in retail, as it is important for colours to appear as if they are in sunlight.
"Initially the quality of the light was too cold and clinical for retail," says Hoffman, "But then the supplier switched [the lights] for ones that were warmer and closer to the light halogens give out.."
This is one example of how LEDs are improving. These improvements are now inspiring a revolution in lighting system design across the business and residential sectors. Where LEDs come into their own is where businesses need more task-focused lighting fixtures and bring the light closer to where it's required.
Meanwhile, businesses such as Sports Junkies, at the forefront of LED lighting innovation, are finding ways to work with LEDs in their existing fixtures and lighting layout.
BC Hydro Rebates Speed up Payoff
When asked if Hoffmann would recommend a lighting upgrade to other businesses, he is very positive about his experience, especially if businesses can get the BC Hydro rebate through the Power Smart Product Incentive Program.
"It's a really, really good deal," says Hoffmann. "If I didn't get the rebate, the change would have paid off in about two years, which is still good, but if you get the rebate, you're saving money from the start."
Find out more about BC Hydro incentives for energy-efficient lighting.