After a successful pilot test of the all-LED concept in Ohio, Walmart is investing in General Electric (GE) LED ceiling light fixtures across dozens of new and existing stores, and supercenters in the United States, Asia, Latin America and the United Kingdom.
The main sales-floor fixtures involved in this commitment usually account for 90% of the total lighting usage in a given retail building or grocery store layout, so the impact is potentially huge in terms of energy efficiency improvements, the company believes. Walmart has been slowly adopting LEDs for several years, but this represents its largest LED lighting purchase from GE to date.
In the United States alone, the switchover to this technology will reduce electricity consumption by an average of 340,000 kilowatt-hours (kWhs), generating approximately $34,000 in savings per year per store, according to Walmart’s estimates. (That number is based on an average price of 10.13 cents per kWh.)
Walmart has committed to cutting the kWhs of electricity per square foot needed to run its buildings by 20% globally by 2020, compared with 2010 benchmark levels. (It doesn’t reveal how far toward that goal it has progressed so far.)
The installation wave announced this week, which uses GE technologies including Lumination IS Series Luminaires, will begin this month at Walmart’s UK business, Asda. The lights will be used in collaboration with automated daylight harvesting systems and timed controls that also reduce energy consumption during late night hours at 24-hour stores.
Walmart isn’t putting a price tag on the overall investment or how much the LED lights cost compared with traditional fluorescent tube fixtures, but in an emailed response to several questions, the company estimated the payoff will come within two to five years, depending on the utility rates in given markets.
Here’s how many installations Walmart expects to complete this year, along with the anticipated energy savings in parentheses:
- Brazil (41%) – 30 store remodels
- Central America (54-59%) – 10 new stores
- China (42%) – 24 new stores, 16 remodels
- Mexico (45%) – 37 new stores
- United Kingdom (45-51%) – 10 new stores
- United States (15%) – 30 new stores
“We have worked to find and scale energy-efficient LED lighting solutions that are cost-effective and high quality, and now working with GE, we’re paving the way to make this a mainstream solution for the retail industry,” said Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Wal-Mart Stores, in the press release issued about the investment. “LEDs have become an integral part of our energy efficiency model for our stores and play a key role in achieving our overall sustainability goals.”