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Eye on Retail: Walmart sees savings with LEDs

BY Marianne Wilson

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.

[Read more: LED lighting leads the efficiency train for Ace Hardware]

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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Houzz Stat: Stable demand for design-build firms

BY HBSDealer Staff

General contractors and remodelers posted high scores. General contractors and remodelers posted a reading of 71, and design-build firms 67, in the third quarter of this year. Both scores dipped a bit from the second quarter, but again, that is to be expected with the shift in seasons.

The scores for general contractors and remodelers and design-build firms are pretty close to those of a year ago, indicating fairly stable demand on a year-over-year basis.

On a year-over-year basis, the score for the number of design-build firms’ new projects or orders dropped by three points. Despite that dip, scores for both design-build firms and general contractors and remodelers remain strong, in the mid- to high 60s and low 70s for both groups across all three components of the barometer.

See the complete report here.

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Readers Respond: Starts Looking Up

BY HBSDealer Staff

As total housing starts crossed the 1.20-million mark in 2017, the industry looks ahead to what is hoped to be another in a line of steady growth in this widely watched metric. The latest HBSDealer poll reveals 64% of respondents expect at least 1.3 million total starts in 2018.

About 100 readers took the poll, which asked: “What do you expect for 2018?”

The reader responses were as follows:

• “1.1 million or lower,” 12%

• “1.2 million,” 23%

• “1.3 million,” 28%

• “1.4 million,” 14%

• “1.5 million,” 13%

• “1.6 million,” 1%

• “1.7 million or higher,” 8%

The poll remains open here.

A little background, since 2009, the total starts number has steadily improved as follows:

2009: 554,000
2010: 586,900
2011: 608,800
2012: 780,600
2013: 924,900
2014: 1,003,300
2015: 1,111,800
2016: 1,173,800
2017: 1,202,100 (preliminary figure)

 

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