Eye on Retail: Walmart sees savings with LEDs

The retail giant has seen some dramatic cost savings as a result of its commitment to LED lighting.

Walmart has seen some dramatic cost savings as the result of its commitment to LED lighting.

The nation’s largest retailer revealed the results of an extensive lighting program with Current, powered by GE, at the National Retail Federation’s Big Show. As part of its ongoing commitment to energy efficiency, Walmart has now installed more than 1.5 million LED fixtures across more than 6,000 stores, parking lots, distribution centers and corporate offices in 10 countries.

The ambitious energy initiative, which has taken place over the past decade, has reduced lighting energy consumption and reduced costs by more than $100 million. The savings are particularly significant because energy costs traditionally represented one of the company’s largest operating expenses.

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Walmart’s investment in energy efficiency has reduced energy use per square foot by more than 12% since 2010. Its LED investments are part of Walmart’s science-based emissions reduction plan aimed at meeting its goal to reduce emissions by 18% by 2025 (from 2015 levels) in its own operations through a combination of increased energy efficiency, sourcing of renewable energy and improvements in refrigeration systems and fleet efficiency.

“Energy is one of the key operating expenses that we can reduce while delivering system upgrades that improve the customer shopping experience,” said Mark Vanderhelm, Walmart’s VP 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 started 10 years ago with refrigeration display lighting and has grown to include parking lot and interior lighting. Many stores now also feature Current’s TriGain technology, which is designed to improve product visibility and enhance color vibrancy in areas like produce departments.

In addition, Walmart is moving aggressively to complete LED and controls retrofits in all of its distribution centers across the United States. It has embarked on a new initiative to replace all other forms of overhead lighting with LED.

“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,” said Maryrose Sylvester, president and CEO of Current by GE. “Walmart is once again on the leading edge of progress.”

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