March 7, 2009
Limited Brands Inc., the Columbus retail giant, said Tuesday that it will save $775,000 a year by using new long-life energy-saving lighting in its Central Ohio distribution centers.
The more efficient configuration includes use of 2- and 3-foot fluorescent tubes and other products that the GE Consumer & Industrial lighting institute at the East Cleveland Nela Park facility recommended.
The lamps Limited Brands is using operate on lower wattage than lights it used in the past but still offer strong illumination at lower operating cost, said Mary Beth Gotti, manager of the lighting institute.
The plan also employs motion-sensor technology that turns on lights in work areas only when employees move into those sections of warehouses to find and retrieve merchandise. The company also included skylights in the high-ceilinged facilities to improve lighting and cut power costs during daylight hours.
A GE spokesman said the retro-fit of new lamps and fittings in Limited Brands’ 3.5 million square feet of floor space will lower energy bills by $650,000 a year. The retail company operates five Columbus-area distribution facilities.
The remaining savings are projected to result from the reduced maintenance costs, principally from having to replace the lamps less frequently. The tubes offer a 24,000-hour rated life if started every 12 hours, Gotti said.
In contrast, so-called “long life” incandescent bulbs rated at 60 watts last about 2,000 hours. The equivalent illumination can come from lower-energy-consuming 13-watt compact fluorescent lights. But they usually require replacement about every 6,000 hours of illumination, while using less energy than incandescent bulbs.
The new versions of fluorescent tubes give users two economic advantages: a 50 percent cut in lighting bills and fewer trips that maintenance workers must make up ladders to change burned-out units.
The warehouses receive merchandise from manufacturers around the world, store it and then ship boxes and pallets to stores. Limited Brands spokeswoman Robin Hoffman said the warehouses “are brighter and more pleasant than they were before.”
The company also has replaced older, less-efficient lamps in some 700 stores with more efficient lighting. Limited’s retail efforts alone have reduced stores’ electricity consumption by 50 million kilowatt hours annually.
“It does save us money, but a big part of this comes from our sustainability initiative,” which commits the company to reducing waste, Hoffman said.
Many companies that employ large-scale indoor work and storage spaces have found that fitting facilities with new lighting can pay off quickly. Studies from the U.S. Department of Energy have shown homes and businesses can generate enough savings to cover capital costs within two years. Gotti said the Columbus facilities may be able to pay off its expense with a year’s worth of savings.
For further information, visit: http://www.cleveland.com/business/index.ssf/2009/06/limited_brands_saves_energy_by.html