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One Light at a Time

Brighton Collectibles takes systematic approach to LED upgrades

The lighting has to be just right at every one of the 200 retail stores in the portfolio of Los Angeles-based Brighton Collectibles. The jewelry’s luster has to catch the customer’s eye and the detailed stitching pattern of the handbags has to jump off the rack.

A facilities maintenance technician visits Brighton’s locations monthly to assess the lighting and replace burned-out incandescent lamps with energy-efficient LED lights whenever possible.

Adrian Rangel, Brighton’s Facilities Manager, said maintenance workers note any burned-out incandescent lights and inform him so he can ship new LED lights to the store. Upon the technician’s next visit, he can install the LED light and ship the old incandescent lamp back to company headquarters to be recycled or used in a showroom or nearby store.

LEDs make sense

Whereas incandescent bulbs may last 12 to 18 months, the LED lights come with a five-year warranty, so Rangel expects his technicians to spend less time on lighting maintenance after the company completes its upgrades, freeing them up to address other maintenance issues.

“There’s no big approval process here,” Rangel said. “Doing these smaller change-outs and upgrading from incandescent to LED is pretty much a no-brainer. Not only do LEDs last longer, but we’re seeing less color shifting of light than we did in the past.

“In the old days, lamps might eventually look green or yellow, but now they stay nice and white, and that’s a big selling point, especially in a store like ours, where we’re showcasing jewelry and high-end handbags. We want to make sure the jewelry sparkles.”

Rangel said Brighton Collectibles typically retrofits a store’s lighting fixtures to LED during remodeling, and all new stores will have LED lights. He said the pricing of LED lights has come down some in recent years, allowing the typical store to recoup its investment in LED lights in as little as a year – a key talking point for facilities managers looking to convince the C-Suite to invest in upgrades.

Saves energy all around

According to the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, part of the U.S. Department of Energy, LED lights typically use at least 75 percent less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent lighting. By 2027, widespread use of LEDs could save the equivalent annual electrical output of 44 large electric power plants and save $30 billion at today’s electricity prices.

In addition, since LED lights generate far less heat than incandescent, metal halide or compact fluorescent bulbs, upgrading can substantially reduce air-conditioning use in stores and lead to even more savings, Rangel said.

“We do have a lot of lighting in the stores to showcase our products, so the stores can become hot at times,” he said. “When we’ve done retrofits to LED, we’ve sometimes had employees call and say that the store is too cold now. It makes that much difference.”

Retail Outlook

LED lights are proving popular with retailers big and small. Walmart, for example, estimated in January that it has saved more than $100 million in energy costs since first installing LED lights in its refrigeration displays 10 years ago. Today, there are more than 1.5 million LED fixtures installed across 6,000 Walmart stores, parking lots, distribution centers and corporate offices in 10 countries, the company said.

“LED products have improved over time, especially over the last couple of years, so we’re now getting the same output as we are with the high-energy-usage lamps,” Rangel said. “You’ll have fewer outages with LEDs, so you’ll rarely see a store that is not properly lit. Since the LED products last a long time, stores look consistent and are properly lit all the time. Aesthetically, the stores look a lot better.”

By: Nick Fortuna

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