True Value stores cut energy use with LED retrofit

An LED upgrade has added to Rosenberg True Value Hardware’s bottom line profitably. 

The retailer, who operates two True Value stores in Michigan (in the towns of White Cloud and Grant), switched out the existing T8 fluorescent lamps in the stores in favor of 18-watt, 2200 lumen, 4000K, 4-ft. T8 LED linear tubes (from EarthTronics, Muskegon, Mich.).

“We had researched the idea of changing over to LED lighting,” said owner and CEO Bob Rosenberg. “But, it wasn’t until we discovered the right mix of products that we started to understand that a full conversion made sense. When we combined these products with a rebate incentive from our utility provider, Consumers Energy, we found a cost-cutting solution that would offer a viable, measurable impact to our business.”

The T8 linear tubes, a direct-wire LED, help eliminate the existing florescent ballast and wire AC power directly to the lamp. Earthtronics’ LED linear tubes have a color rendering index above 80 and feature glass tube construction to ensure proper cooling to support high lumen maintenance for a 50,000 hour rated life.

“With LED bulb life at 50,000 hours, we won’t have to replace these new lamps for up to 10 years,” Rosenberg said. This delays future product and labor expense for us. We also learned that LED lighting runs at a lower temperature than florescent lighting, reducing summer cooling costs.”

Instead of purchasing new lighting fixtures for the LED linear tubes, Rosenberg True Value decided to convert its existing eight-foot florescent light fixture to one using four-foot LED linear tubes.

A simple retrofit kit enabled the retailer to forgo the expense of purchasing new light fixtures with additional labor and material costs. It also easily allowed the hardware stores to use the eight-foot metal housing from its existing florescent fixtures and quickly convert them to four-foot LED lighting.

The kit made the conversion from eight-foot tubes to four-foot ones relatively quick and simple. The conversion occurred during hours of operation with little or no inconvenience to the stores’ customers.

“The retrofit kit was easy to install and allowed us to efficiently adapt each fixture,” said Rosenberg. “After a half-day, the installer was able to accomplish each conversion in about 15 minutes per eight-foot fixture. This kept labor costs to a minimum. It also enabled us to complete the whole lighting project in less than three weeks at a labor cost of under $3,500.”

By switching from T8 florescent tube to linear LEDS, the True Value locations were able to decrease the number of the lamps used in the overhead fixtures from four to two, reduce more than 10,500 kilowatt hours and drastically cut their energy bills over the summer. The White Cloud location reduced 5,170 kilowatt hours, while the Grant store cut 4,384 kilowatt hours over the brief summer months.

Rosenberg says initial project analysis estimated a payback period of a little over two years. Ultimately, after the project ended and he received the stores’ third energy bill, Rosenberg learned payback would occur in closer to 18 months. (The total project cost was only $10,700, which includes a $3,300 rebated from Consumers Power.)

“This is the first time we have been able to make a significant cut in what would be considered a fixed expense and succeeded to the point that it will actually improve the health of our business,” he said. “Consumers Power rebates gave us the incentive to pursue a project that led to using LED technology. It is one of the best things that happened to our business in several years.”

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