Derbyshire retailer Dee Sedani needed some convincing that LED lighting could save him money, but now he is advocating it for the entire industry.
Dee Sedani has always been interested in saving energy. Two years ago he was one of the first retailers in the country to put doors on his chillers, significantly reducing energy consumption at his Londis store in the Derbyshire village of Etwall.
But the doors were only part of it, and Dee soon started to look at energy consumption across the store. In fact it became something of an obsession, extending to switching off the lights on the tobacco gantry and putting timers on all the plugs.
“As the cost of goods for customers went up, the margins for retailers were going down, and I knew I had to put a plaster on the leak,” Dee told C-Store.
Then local shopfitter Kevin Broadley came to see him to talk about LED lighting. Broadley had previously worked on stores in the Londis estate and knew the spec, but more importantly he knew Dee was always on the lookout for ways to cut his energy bill. So he started to explain how and why he should convert all the lighting in his two stores at Etwall and Matlock to LEDs.
Broadley said: “I had this new product in LED lighting, which I knew was going to make a significant improvement to both the quality and the running costs of retail lighting, so I thought I should be talking to Dee about it.”
Dee’s first reaction was that he was being sold to, and besides that he had just overhauled all his in-store lighting at Etwall, switching from 150W Baro bulbs to 70W ones in a bid to cut running costs, spending £3,000 in the process. So he needed some convincing.
So the two of them set up a process of measurement worthy of any scientific experiment. They put a clamp on the meter to isolate the lighting circuit so that they knew exactly how much juice was being burned. Dee put one LED light in and measured its consumption, and separately tested the consumption of the old light he had taken out.
Every watt was measured, every minute, for two weeks, and the photometric data was analysed, at Dee’s insistence, by an independent company. When the results were in, Dee could argue no more. The LED lights used 65% less energy.
And the benefits don’t stop there. Halogen bulbs typically used in retail burn very bright, generating a lot of heat as well as light. This means that within a year the structure begins to break down, degrading the light quality from white to yellow and producing different colours. At a cost of £35-£70 per bulb, re-lamping every year can be an expensive business. The heat also creates an unpleasant in-store environment, damaging product or forcing the retailer to invest in air conditioning.
Compare this with the 50,000 hours of perfect light guaranteed by good LEDs. They are more energy efficient because the light is produced by thousands of tiny reflecting lenses, controlled by a mini computer. LEDs are easy to install, don’t flicker or burn, contain no harmful chemicals and are easy to maintain. They come in tubes as well as bulbs, are dimmable and are available in different colours, too. And with the technology growing in popularity, costs are likely to fall, and quality go up, in future.
Compared with a halogen-based lighting grid, conversion to LED pays back comfortably within two years, according to Dee, taking into account capital costs, running costs today, and running costs in future. With energy savings of about 65%, Dee calculates that a £3,500 investment in LEDs for a typical store will pay back in 63 weeks.
And the good news keeps coming. Because LED is energy-saving technology, you can claim a tax reduction in the first year if you can prove your energy and carbon have been reduced.
As a result, Dee claims to be cost-neutral, and has converted not just his two stores to LEDs, but his home as well. He has also gone into business with Broadley with a new company called Bright Eyes LED to spread the word to other retailers.
Says Dee: “I now have a product I believe in, and it’s made me realise just how much energy was being wasted.
“This is about retailers surviving. It’s about cost-savings these days: we’re all working four times harder for the same wage, and we can’t keep putting the price of Mars bars up to cover overheads. Bright Eyes is not a multi-national company. I’m a retailer, and if I can help another retailer I will.” •
Dee Sedani will be speaking about LED lighting on the energy panel at the National Convenience Show at the NEC Birmingham on Tuesday, April 16 at 12.45 pm. Retailers can contact him on 07957 199345, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Npower pledges support to Pay less, Use Less
Better energy management is one of the easiest ways that retailers can save money. That’s why Npower has teamed up with Convenience Store to support Pay Less, Use Less.
As part of this partnership, Npower will be providing exclusive insight to readers on how they can reduce costs by becoming more energy efficient, with advice and tips on how to better plan their energy use.
Already working with more than 10,000 small businesses to drive energy savings, Npower has services to support its customers. For example, energy audits provide business owners with an in-depth analysis on how they’re using energy, helping to identify where consumption can be reduced to achieve real savings.
Meanwhile, Npower’s fixed-priced contract, Fixed 123, has been developed to provide small businesses with greater budget certainty, something research has shown is vital.
Phil Scholes, SME markets director at Npower, commented: “Our services are designed to help retailers increase their bottom line, without increasing sales. We look forward to contributing to the great work Pay Less, Use Less is doing and working closely with retailers to demonstrate how they can achieve savings.”