“For new construction, LED lighting has become the standard for the c-store industry and the retail industry in general,” said Niki DePhillips, senior vice president of store development for Kum & Go, which operates more than 400 stores across 11 states. “Kum & Go utilizes LED fixtures in all interior and exterior fixtures.”
Even when retrofitting fixtures at existing locations, she said, the return on investment makes LED technology a good choice. Above and beyond the energy savings, their solid-state construction means they don’t have to be changed — reducing maintenance costs and slip-and-fall mishaps.
“It’s cheaper, safer,” said Jason Nordin, chief operator for Pilot Company, which plans to complete retrofitting every one of its more than 750 stores in North America by the end of 2021.
Pilot is also installing an energy management system with the LED packages. “So, you can monitor what’s going on inside the store,” Nordin said. “If a store is pulling too much on the HVAC system … you can send alerts that say something’s wrong in your store. You then want to go check it out.”
Opportunities to save on energy can be found around every corner in a
c-store. For example, daylight harvesting strategies automatically dim the LED fixtures near exterior windows and on exterior units.
“Kum & Go uses multiple lighting control strategies in combination with LED technology,” DePhillips said. “Wall- or ceiling-mounted dual-technology occupancy sensors are installed in all Kum & Go restrooms, walk-in coolers and freezers and backrooms.”
But energy-efficient lighting systems have now gone beyond saving money and entered the realm of making money — in the form of increased sales.
“The most exciting innovation to look forward to is smart lighting technology,” according to DePhillips. “With the individual control flexibility, in-store presentation can be enhanced to influence shopping behavior by creating product focus.”
Crossover technologies also integrate sensors that alert when shelves need stocking. According to the “Perfecting In-store Execution” report by retail consultant Trax, only 17% of retailers now use similar technology.
Large chain or small store, LED lighting and energy management systems will continue to lift the c-store bottom line.