Being carbon-neutral, environmentally responsible design, and climate change the main buzz words in our industry, it makes perfect sense to me talk about how the retail design sector is using the latest technology in lighting to enhance their design while saving energy for their clients.
According to carbon trust, “A 20% cut in energy costs represents the same bottom line benefit as a 5% increase in sales.” Besides the economic factor, by reducing our energy consumption we are also protecting our planet for today’s and future’s generations, given that the use of our natural resources will be reduced too. Since climate change is real and customers are more educated than ever, companies that take a positive approach in order to protect our environment are considered leaders by consumers. Below are five of the current lighting enhancements that companies are using to save energy in their store remodels:
Design with LED Lighting — While designers see lighting as the key element to their work as it will either enhance or destroy the space, the main function of lighting for business owners is to increase their bottom line by attracting customers to the retail space. Besides that, the lasting impression created by the store’s lighting design will help customers to decide whether or not they will come back to the store in the future. Available in so many shapes and sizes, LED technology is energy efficient and highly cost effective; by upgrading your current lighting system to LED technology you can save up to 85% on your yearly lighting operational costs.
Create specialty zones: The so overused design concept where one size fits all for retails is completely outdated. In today’s world, custom-tailored design is a must. Maximize each corner of your store by incorporating specialty LED lighting to address specific needs. Combine general lighting with spot lighting and directional lightning for a more dramatic appearance. A great example of a well-designed, yet cost-effective, project is the Prodega Store in Biel, Switzerland where, by adopting a 100% LED lighting system that uses both ambiance and accent lighting, the store managed to save more than 63% in energy while enhancing the quality of its food lighting.
Say YES to occupancy sensors — Regardless if your building is a LEED certified building or not, installing occupancy sensors that can either dim or turn the light off when nobody is in the room can actually reduce the electricity use by 30%. Occupancy sensors are great solution for stock rooms, restrooms, conference rooms, and break rooms for example.
Incorporate daylight sensors: In order to cut costs and become more energy efficient, lighting designers are making most of daylight sensors as well as building automation systems. Many retail stores are now setting their lighting systems to turn on few minutes before they open and shut down right after they close. Furthermore, depending on where the store is located and the amount of windows available, your lighting designer will be able to come up with a plan to reduce the electricity use by up to 40% upon the inclusion of daylight sensors as part of the design solution. Those sensors will adjust the artificial lighting according to the amount of natural light present in the space.
Implement a maintenance plan: Increase the amount of natural light you bring to the store by developing a comprehensive maintenance plan that addresses the cleaning of windows and skylights on a regular basis. By doing that, stores can save up to 40% of their energy bill while enhancing their products with natural lighting.
VK Sustainable Concepts’ Principal Andrea Vollf, LEED AP ID+C, is a registered interior designer and sustainability professional with over fifteen years of experience in the interior design and marketing industries. Recently nominated by the Daily Herald Business Ledger as one of the Influential Women in Business 2012 and with articles published across US and Canada since 2009, Ms. Vollf is an active member of the U.S. Green Building Council – Illinois Chapter, with in?depth knowledge of all aspects of Sustainability – Social, Environmental and Economic. Ms. Vollf is also one of the co-founders of NEW – Networking of Entrepreneurial Women – a networking group that is committed to supporting and promoting entrepreneurial women living and working in the Chicago suburban area. Connect with Andrea on Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.