Here’s how a close-out retailer is cutting energy costs

A 41-year-old, family-operated discount retail chain is spending $14 million to upgrade to a more energy-efficient lighting system.

Ocean State Job Lot, which operates  131 stores in New England, New York, and New Jersey, is installing LED lamps and advanced lighting control systems throughout its stores and also in its 1.5 million sq.-ft. distribution center. The company expects the upgrade to translate into an annual savings of more than $2.7 million in energy costs.

LED lighting with control systems have already been installed in the company’s distribution center, which is located in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, and at recently-opened new stores. Conversion of remaining stores is ongoing.

“We believe it's our social responsibility to reduce our energy usage as much as possible," said Marc Perlman, principal owner and CEO, Ocean State Job Lot, which is based in Kingston, Rhode Island. "We recently made a $2 million investment to relamp our distribution center, and we're now beginning a $12 million project to replace the lighting in 100 of our 131 stores this year, with the remainder of our stores to be completed next year.  In addition to saving energy, these improvements create a better, brighter overall shopping experience for our customers.”

Once complete, roughly 50,000 lighting fixtures and more than 100,000 fluorescent lamps will have been replaced. Ocean State Job Lot anticipates using 17.4 million less kilowatt hours of energy in the next year due to the upgrades.

In conjunction with the LED rollout, a new energy management platform will be implemented. The cloud-based system will allow for controls of both lighting and HVAC systems. The program will be able to have daylighting and dimming capabilities, further saving on energy costs.

Further investments in HVAC technology, waste management and recycling, solar energy systems, water consumption and overall sustainability are on the horizon to further reduce the company’s carbon footprint.