The Evolution of LED Technologies and Controls
Chain stores are notorious for their large consumption of energy, in fact, energy is the fourth largest in-store operating cost for U.S. retailers. Out of this energy use, approximately 11% of a facility’s costs are spent on lighting according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Lighting is an important component of the customer experience; after all it’s what helps retailers highlight displays and properly showcase product to customers so as to create a better shopping experience that helps drive sales and revenue. For these reasons, it’s critical to maintain a well-lit facility – even if that means a facility may shoulder greater energy requirements.
Many facility managers, by now, are well aware that plenty of options exist to meet the need for higher-quality lighting, often capitalizing on solutions that both drive greater efficiency and support corporate sustainability initiatives, all while providing an enhanced shopping experience. Perhaps the easiest update any facility can make is the switch from outdated lighting technologies such as fluorescent, metal halide and halogen, to high-efficiency LED lighting. This simple shift in lighting technology will significantly boost efficiency as LEDs offer the potential to reduce lighting energy use by more than sixty-five percent, achieved through its unique ability to more efficiently convert energy to light. This means less heat is created, offering the secondary benefit of positively impacting a facility’s cooling requirement.
As a standalone, the benefits of LEDs are substantial, however the continued advancement in control based solutions, particularly those achieved exclusively through LED technology, are rapidly advancing lighting’s role among retail facilities. Maintenance and operations are improved through advanced global and localized monitoring capabilities; efficiency is maximized through lighting controls based on occupancy, time of day, daylight levels and motion; and regulation of LED lighting through color tuning and dimming, combined with LED’s superior color rendering, is enhancing the quality of light for the retail environment’s staff and shoppers.
Most interestingly though, retailers’ commitment to utilize “smart” Internet-based technologies, commonly referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT) to enhance the retail experience, is shifting the paradigm of lighting. LED lighting and controls are moving beyond its primary purpose of delivering a highly efficient light source.
Changing complexity and controllability in lighting automation
Lighting controls have continued to evolve from simple solutions, including motion and occupancy, to more complex options such as daylight harvesting, color tuning and dimming. The increased complexity of these controls aids will enhance lighting efficiency throughout a facility, however most interestingly this allows for more precise and complex lighting applications requirements within localized aspects of the retail environment.
To date, many facilities have already introduced timers, syncing their lighting with store hours to eliminate wasteful energy use when the facility is closed, in addition to the use of basic occupancy/motion sensor devices throughout secondary or support spaces, including warehouse and storage environments to reduce the overall runtime of lighting.
Now, retailers can take advantage of increased lighting complexity, made possible through LED lighting technology and current control solutions. As a starting point, LED lighting delivers superior color rendering (CRI) versus other lighting solutions that more accurately depicts and objects color, enhancing the visual quality of a product, while helping reduce eye strain according to several studies. Combined with controls, LED’s can be regulated to address both light output (lumens) and color temperature (CCT) to provide diverse lighting option for retailers, particularly within localized requirements to address specific needs, whether focusing shopper attention to certain areas, displays or signage – be it on an end cap, a sale item or a new product display.
One of the most valuable components of an LED’s controllability however, is the connectivity the fixtures offer throughout a facility. To better monitor and manage lighting systems, the introduction of Internet-based control systems is creating interconnected smart fixtures that provide greater transparency and control over the facility. This includes real-time feedback on facility’s operations which helps facility managers make better informed decisions or provide immediate response to issues such fixtures that may not be working. The smart fixtures can “speak” to maintenance control stations with information on the wattage of each fixture, alerts on maintenance functions needed and can better control lighting output throughout the entire facility, streamlining maintenance efforts.
LEDs become the beacon for IoT integration
The connective capability of LED fixtures is shifting their sole purpose as a light source, becoming a tool to drive retailers’ deployment of Internet of Things (IoT) based initiatives within a facility. The latest LED fixtures are now offered as integrated smart control solutions, capable of acting as networked nodes, utilizing POE, Bluetooth to WiFi to help support retailer initiatives for greater transparency, monitoring and customer engagement.
While this IoT connectivity does providing serious benefits in terms of maintenance, it can be particularly useful in enhancing the consumer experience especially since many shoppers are constantly plugged into the IoT through their mobile devices. Some facilities are experimenting with new mobile marketing opportunities that utilizes LED fixtures as communications nodes to communicate directly with mobile devices including cell phones, tablets and smart watches.
We’ve already seen this type of smart connectivity in stores like Target where the company’s Cartwheel app can sense that a customer has entered a store and will notify them of current deals through their mobile device. As facilities continue to advance lighting’s IoT capabilities, we will undoubtedly see further testing with in-store hotspots and more precise targeting, delivering different coupons and offerings based on an individual’s location within the store.
LEDs and control solutions are continuing to rapidly advance how we capitalize on lighting and IoT opportunities throughout retail environments. In some cases, this drives energy efficiency and optimizes maintenance. In other applications it helps to boost both the customer experience while also driving in-store mobile marketing efforts. The controllability of LED technologies coupled with IoT integration is making these solutions not just useful but necessary for retailers looking to maximize savings with lighting while also ensuring customers have the type of successful shopping experience that drives sales.
Jay Black is VP of Development & Communications for Revolution Lighting Technologies.
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Luxury fashion distributor announces second store, new CEO
There has been a change at the top at MadaLuxe Group.
The company said Adam Freede, who currently serves as MadaLuxe Group president, will assume the role of CEO, effective immediately. MadaLuxe Group’s co-founder and CEO emeritus, Sandy Sholl, has been named executive chairman and will continue to oversee retail, e-commerce and marketing.
In addition, MadaLuxe Group has identified a second location in Southern California for its new, luxury off-price boutique concept, MadaLuxe Vault. The first MadaLuxe Vault opened in December 2017, in Los Angeles.
The company also announced it has signed a lease on a 9,000-sq.-ft. office in New York City, where it will open a showroom this spring.
Since 2010, MadaLuxe Group has partnered with Europe’s fashion houses seeking a North American distribution strategy for excess inventory. It also imports and distributes full-price timepieces from Ferragamo, Versace and Versus Versace, and is an equity owner of Haute Hippie, the high-end, women’s fashion-forward brand.
“I’m thrilled to be transitioning into the role of CEO at an exciting time in our company’s history,” said Freede. “The off-price sector is experiencing faster acceleration in both store count and sales than the North American retail industry overall. As the dominant distributor of off-price luxury in the wholesale market, MadaLuxe Group is uniquely positioned to modernize the off-price market by meeting the needs of the informed consumer who wants affordable, curated items with a steady flow of luxury product.”
In her new role, Sandy will continue to trailblaze innovative business ventures that drive the company forward. Sholl serves on the Board of Governors of the World of Children and on the Board of Trustees of Tikva Children’s Home.
“As the retail industry continues to evolve driven by tech savvy consumers, we have created a new luxury off-price boutique shopping experience with the MadaLuxe Vault,” said Sholl. “As executive Chairman, I will be bringing new experiences to consumers so they can engage with the MadaLuxe brand, which will also complement our retail and brand partners, offering access to carefully curated products both in-store and online.”
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Tax deduction extended for energy improvements
Retail companies can still claim energy upgrades on their upcoming tax returns.
With the passage of the budget act on Friday by Congress, EPAct 179D has been retroactively extended to include projects completed in 2017. This means that any commercial or government building completed in 2017 is now eligible for the tax incentive of up to $1.80 per square foot (The deduction is made up of three partial deductions: up to $.60 per square foot for lighting, HVAC, or building envelope each.)
“As soon as possible, we recommend beginning to compile information on any of your potentially eligible projects completed in 2017 so you can include the EPAct benefit on your 2017 tax returns,” advised Charles Goulding of Energy Tax Savers. “This would be available for any newly constructed or renovated commercial or government buildings completed in 2017.”
For more, go to Energytaxsavers.com.
Nice post to read!