At the National Retail Federation’s Big Show, Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, reported the results of a ten-year lighting program with Current, powered by GE. Over the last ten years, Walmart has worked with GE and (now Current powered by GE) to install energy efficient LED lighting and lighting controls.
Walmart Saved Over $100 Million in Electricity Costs For Lighting Over Ten Years
With energy costs usually representing one of the company’s biggest operating expenses, the monumental energy savings initiative over the past decade has reduced energy consumption for lighting alone and for a total costs reduction for the period across 6000 stores of more than $100 million. Walmart has now installed more than 1.5 million LED fixtures across more than 6,000 stores (more than half of its over 11,000 stores worldwide), parking lots, distribution centers and corporate offices in ten countries.
“Energy is one of the key operating expenses that we can reduce while delivering system upgrades that improve the customer shopping experience,” explained Mark Vanderhelm, Walmart’s Vice President of Energy. “The ripple effect from these LED conversions throughout the business is truly staggering. We believe that by continuing to reduce one of our biggest operating expenses, we’re supporting future innovation and delivering on our promise of Every Day Low Prices.”
The LED commercial lighting initiative between Walmart and GE began ten years ago with refrigeration display lighting and has grown to include parking lot and interior lighting. Since that time, the technology has greatly improved and so have the lighting products. To keep up with these improvements many of LED lights and fixtures have gone through more than one model.
LED Lighting and Fixtures Utilized
The Walmart stores now utilize many different types of LED fixtures and lights. Among the most recent models, for example, the refrigerator cases now use GE’s Immersion Elite. For the salesfloor linear lighting on new construction, remodels, and retrofits, Walmart used IS and LIS models. They utilized the Albeo ALC5 Series luminaires over the freezer bunkers. The Lumination suspended LUR Series retrofit kits were used to retrofit the linear salesfloor lights. The Lumination EL Series Suspended Luminaire with Intrinsx™ optical technology was used for remodels of the produce areas. Outdoors, Walmart installed the Evolve LED area lights, and around the buildings, they positioned Evolve Wall packs.
Current by GE pointed out that many Walmart stores now also feature Current’s TriGain red phosphor technology, which Current engineered to improve product visibility and enhance color vibrancy in areas such as produce departments where color vibrancy is critical for sales.
Walmart Completing LED and Control Retrofits in All Distribution Centers
Walmart is also moving aggressively working to complete LED and controls retrofits in 100 percent of its distribution centers in the U.S., and the company also has begun a new initiative to replace all other forms of overhead lighting with LED.
The president and CEO of Current by GE Maryrose Sylvester said, “Walmart is setting a great example for the retail industry to follow.” And she apparently hinted at the move towards indoor positioning systems combined with smartphone retail apps when she said, “We believe the global LED and controls transformation is paving the way for the next generation of smart retail, where steady advancement toward new digital solutions will continue improving the shopping experience. Walmart is once again on the leading edge of progress.”
Lighting is just part of Walmart’s work on reducing energy consumption. Since 2010, for example, Walmart’s investment in energy efficiency has reduced energy use per square foot by more than 12 percent. Its LED investments are a part of Walmart’s science-based emissions reduction plan to reduce emissions 18 percent by 2025 (from 2015 levels) in its operations. The company intends to accomplish this through a combination of increased energy efficiency, sourcing of renewable energy, and improvements in refrigeration systems, and fleet efficiency.