LED Lighting Systems: A Bright Idea for Convenience Stores

Most owners of convenience stores look to traditional supply areas such as merchandise, brand selection, gasoline sales and the endless coffee pot to help turn a profit. But more and more, experienced operators – especially those who own multiple locations – are turning to a bright idea whose time has come: engaging an energy efficiency company to discussion solutions for energy upgrades in convenience stores.

With the advent of newer, cooler, more cost-efficient LED lighting, progressive convenience store owners are working with specialized vendors to achieve new commercial LED lighting upgrades. They are finding these needed improvements not only translate into convenience store energy savings and profits, but also into increased customer satisfaction, spend, and loyalty.

Real Bottom Line Results

Typically, convenience store owners turn the lights on and keep the coolers running. They pay the bills and offer the convenience of 24/7 hours to maximum customer interaction.

Often lost on multi-unit owner/operators is the idea of cutting their spend on electricity, especially in lighting. Owner/operators simply do not think they have any control over these costs other than by turning the lights on and off.

Typically, the average convenience store selling food in the U.S. averages 52.5 kilo-watt hours (kWh) of electricity per square foot and 38.2 cubic feet of natural gas per square foot per year; more than any other type of commercial building. The average-size convenience store therefore spends about $200,000 per year on energy costs. Interior lighting alone can account for as much as 40% of a convenience store’s yearly electric costs.

Energy upgrades in convenience stores can bring immediate results in convenience store energy savings that will significantly contribute to the bottom line for most stores.

Improving the Shopper Experience

Business owners that have done commercial LED lighting upgrades have surprised themselves in the quality of the upgraded aesthetic appearances of their stores. Where once dim, degraded, and costly fluorescent lighting illuminated their stores inside and out, LED lighting retrofits drastically improve the look and feel of their spaces. Convenience store shoppers (particularly younger and more affluent customers) recognize this, and reward stores with both trial visits and ongoing loyalty.

Premium LED units shed bright, adjustable light throughout a store’s interior,  visible from the road and inviting to customers. The LEDs convert the drab yellow or cold blue fluorescent spill off into welcoming bright space.

Traditional metal halide lamps use about 450 watts each compared to LED lamps which use only about 150 watts each. This simple switch saves a convenience store $120 to $150 per bulb per year, based on the national average per kWh. Swapping 32-watt bulbs for 25- or 28-watt bulbs for T8 lighting keeps a c-store’s interior bright while reducing energy use and cost.

Replacing interior ceiling lights with LED lighting is step one in a comprehensive program for a store’s commercial LED lighting upgrades. Transforming formerly outdated in-case lights, swapping traditional lighting with LED lights cuts energy consumption in a standard refrigerated case by about 50 percent.

Additionally, by working with an energy management company to install today’s smart monitoring technologies, added savings can be created by fully reducing energy waste.

LEDs enhance in-case merchandising by improving light quality. The case looks better and brighter, because LED light doesn’t depreciate in cold temperatures the way fluorescent light does. Colorful brand packing comes to life under such conditions and also creates a better-lit, safer environment for employees working in walk-in coolers and freezers.

It should be noted that improving LED lighting isn’t a new concept. Grocery stores have benefited from the superior illumination and quick payback of in-case LEDs for several years. It’s time for convenience stores to seize the opportunity, and a trusted energy management company can help.

A Safe Store Is an Attractive Store

The attractiveness of a convenience store location actually begins with a first impression made even before a consumer walks through the door. Whether driving by or from foot traffic, customers are innately attuned to their environment.

It’s a known fact: people don’t want to shop or work where they don’t feel safe, and dim or flickering lighting deters visitors.

Lighting contributes greatly to these first and lasting impressions. Hence, improved, bright LED lighting in the exterior of a convenience store becomes a welcome invitation to come in. New lighting plays a significant role in a convenience store’s success from the outside.

For convenience stores with gas dispensaries, replacing canopy lighting with bright inviting LED lighting and installing bright LED units in parking lots, building exteriors, grounds and walkways not only saves money; it creates a solid impression you care enough to make the outside inviting for easy, safe navigation for your customers.

LEDs are designed to create greater illumination using less electricity, making them ideal for exterior spaces. Plus, you can say goodbye to the glare and shadows that are common with traditional lights while deploying these energy upgrades in convenience stores and their fueling areas.

Convenience stores that open for business 24/7 can’t turn off the lights completely, inside or out, or in the coolers. But they can gain greater energy efficiency from both — which collectively account for about two-thirds of a c-store’s electricity usage, especially by installing automatic smart sensors and monitoring, like what you get when you connect your stores to Budderfly EnergyCloud, a unique and effortless solution from Budderfly, the fastest-growing Energy Efficiency as a Service firm in the country and a specialist in c-store energy needs.

Areas such as restrooms and storage spaces are also good places to save additional costs by installing motion sensors. A smart energy management company partner will be strategic about where to use occupancy-prompted lighting in a convenience store – using sensors, timers, and manual controls effectively. Another benefit of commercial LED lighting upgrades is in the fixtures themselves. The best modern units are made to last years, not months, so you’ll spend less time and money replacing bulbs in both accessible areas and on high poles, instead of relying on staff to manually replace bulbs.

Having a comprehensive convenience store energy savings program can save owners and operators thousands of much-needed dollars in operating their stores – even more for those in multi-location chains. Working with an experienced energy management company can help this easily become a reality.

A well-lit, always-on atmosphere is part of what sells a convenience store to shoppers. The results: workers are happy and more productive, customers feel welcome and eager to spend money, and businesses like yours profit.

Getting Started: Choosing the Right Energy Efficiency Partner

Achieving energy upgrades in convenience stores is no longer an open-ended, costly proposition.

Advanced systems by energy efficiency specialists such as Budderfly achieve this efficiency with a great degree of precision and reliability. For convenience stores that connect to the effortless energy efficiency of Budderfly EnergyCloud, commercial LED lighting upgrades, HVAC replacement, refrigeration and heated-food monitoring and more are all installed, maintained and metered 24/7/365 – without risk or out-of-pocket cost to you.

Budderfly pays for convenience store operators to cut their energy usage considerably, creating energy savings in your pocket and throughout your stores. The result: greener, better-looking and more comfortable shopping experiences for your customers and employees – all with considerable energy and cost savings.

Sound too good to be true? Budderfly EnergyCloud is real. It’s already delivering effortless energy efficiency at over 2,000 convenience stores, healthcare facilities, commercial building, and restaurants. Let Budderfly answer all your questions and help you connect to Budderfly EnergyCloud today!