Brookshire Brothers (Lufkin, Texas) operates 72 retail supermarkets in an area covering Texas and Louisiana. Supporting its simple mission to “Create a satisfied customer!” the company recently launched a facility-wide lighting update including in-store, parking lot, exterior signage and refrigerated case fixtures. Using a myriad of new linear fluorescent lighting (LFL) and LED technologies from GE Lighting, Brookshire Brothers will, once all of its stores have been completed, reduce its annual operating costs more than $235,000 while establishing a model for energy-efficient lighting renovations at its stores.

“When we looked at options to impact our total energy costs, we identified several areas at different stores where new lighting, including LED fixtures, made a compelling case, both indoors and out,” said Eric Johnson, director of construction for Brookshire Brothers. “Shortly after we met with our GE Lighting team to understand the anticipated electricity and maintenance savings, then made what was an easy decision to move forward.”

Indoor retrofits return significant savings…

Re-lamping of linear fluorescent lighting (LFL) fixtures is now complete at 69 Brookshire Brothers locations where GE’s more energy-efficient 28-watt T8 has replaced 32-watt bulbs in approximately 450 four-lamp fixtures per 30,000-square-foot supermarket. These efforts include the replacement of existing ballasts with GE’s high-efficiency UltraMax(R) electronic ballasts as needed. Each UltraMax ballast installed will create additional energy savings of approximately eight watts per fixture.

Brookshire Brothers will save an average $3,200 per store per year in electricity expense after switching to GE’s 28-watt solution — a more than $220,000 annual cost benefit to the company based on a $.09 kWh electricity rate and 12 hours use per day. The company plans to explore even more efficient 25-watt GE lamps and UltraStart(R) ballasts to suit future needs.

Outdoor area light efficiency adds up…

Five supermarket parking lots, including company headquarters, have thus far been retrofit with GE Evolve(TM) LED Area Lights, bringing high-quality white illumination and energy savings to these spaces. Brookshire Brothers first worked closely with GE to create improved new lighting designs in the lots. GE’s 210-watt Area Lights displaced 400-watt high-intensity discharge (HID) fixtures in two lots while in the others, 1,000-watt HIDs were replaced by 270-watt Area Lights.

As a result of this substantial watts-per-fixture reduction, Brookshire Brothers will save more than $14,000 annually in electricity costs and further stands to diminish maintenance time and expense. Where its 400- and 1,000-watt HID fixtures had been rated for 20,000- and 15,000-hours life respectively, GE’s new Area Lights have a rated life of 50,000 hours.

Other LED installations cut cost…

Brookshire Brothers’ outdoor lighting updates further included aesthetically attractive Wallighter(TM) Luminaires mounted on buildings for extra security around entrances and walkways. Several locations have also incorporated GE Tetra(R) LED Lighting Systems to complement the enhanced exterior appearance of the stores. Delivering up to 80 percent energy savings, reduced maintenance and long service life, GE’s commercial signage technology provides more uniform light compared to traditional fluorescent and neon options.

GE’s Immersion(TM) RV40 LED lighting is meanwhile enhancing color and light-level uniformity in refrigerated display cases in four Brookshire Brothers locations, which house 100 frozen food doors on average. GE’s lighting system virtually eliminates distracting light-source glare and wasteful light spill typical of fluorescent-equipped displays. The LED lights will deliver a 60 percent energy reduction and are rated for 50,000-hours life — four times longer than the fluorescent lighting they replaced.

“When I walk into a store that hasn’t been converted, I know I’ll find at least seven doors that aren’t lit for one reason or another,” explains Johnson. “Our electrical contractor told me, ‘You wouldn’t believe how much of the work we do for you is to repair fluorescent door lighting.’ In the stores that have been converted everything is lit 100 percent of the time. That adds up to sales right there.”

Johnson further plans to specify Immersion LED lighting in a forthcoming conversion of medium-temperature open cases to closed-door cases in a number of stores.

Additionally, wine displays in two stores have been lit with GE’s energy smart(R) LED Replacement Lamps, ideal for applications in which a narrow, focused beam spread is preferred. Forty-five 75-watt halogen lamps (940 lumens) in each store were changed to long-life GE 10-watt PAR30 LED floodlights (500 lumens). Previously, Brookshire Brothers had replaced an average 50 halogen bulbs per location each year. Now, the company will count $3,200 in combined annual energy and maintenance savings, meaning GE’s wine display lighting solution will pay for itself after only 13 months.

GE’s energy smart LED Replacement Lamps will soon be added to several other supermarket displays as well to continue the optical enrichment of customers’ shopping experience.

“The store directors have all been impressed,” Johnson said. “The parking lots shine, the signage is crisper and the colors of the products show much better. There have only been very positive comments. I feel we’ve found our standard for lighting moving forward.

“In each case where new LED lighting was specified, it was easy to support that decision financially through decreased energy consumption, reduced maintenance, increased dependability and extended lamp life.”

Johnson added that GE’s LED lighting solutions will be considered in time for 32 convenience store locations also operated by Brookshire Brothers.

High efficiency LEDs and fluorescent lamps come in a range of brightness options. For more information about the GE Lighting products used in this project, visit .

About Brookshire Brothers

Founded in 1921, Brookshire Brothers has 72 retail supermarkets in predominantly rural markets and in the outskirts of the Houston metro area. With 6,000 employee-owners in two states, the company is also one of the largest retail outlets of Conoco fuel. Brookshire Brothers also operates thirty Polk Pick It Up convenience stores in the markets it serves.

The Wall Street Journal

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