7 Ways Grocery Stores Can Reduce Energy Consumption with LED Replacements

7 Ways Grocery Stores Can Reduce Energy Consumption with LED Replacements

Lighting accounts for up to one-third of the money that the average grocery store spends on electricity. And with the profit margins in grocery stores typically around 1%, every dollar saved on energy is equivalent to increasing sales by almost $60, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).1

Replacing older, inefficient light bulbs and fixtures with light-emitting diode (LED) products can be one of the most effective ways for grocery stores to reduce energy consumption and boost profitability. LED business lighting options have grown expansively in the past several years, especially for grocery store lighting. Adding in lighting rebates and incentives for LEDs from utilities, initial replacement costs have decidedly decreased.

LED replacement lamps and fixtures reduce grocery store energy consumption
Compared to rival lighting technologies, like incandescent, fluorescent, or high-intensity discharge (HID) bulbs and fixtures, LEDs are a vast improvement when it comes to energy consumption. Grocery store lighting retrofits that include LED replacements can save anywhere from 30 to 50% on lighting energy costs while also reducing cooling loads by up to 20%.

LEDs have longer lifespans, require less maintenance, adapt well to lighting controls, give off less heat and can also feature greater lighting directional control, which decreases energy waste and focuses light output on the products a business owner wishes to feature. LEDs offer further benefits specific to grocery stores because their lower heat profile and ability to work so effectively in cold temperatures result in better food preservation and reduced refrigeration energy needs.2

These attributes and others, like the increased availability of lighting rebates, make replacing existing grocery store lighting products with LEDs a sure and relatively inexpensive bet for reducing energy consumption and costs.

7 ways grocery stores can reduce energy consumption with LED replacements

1. Replace existing refrigerated case lighting with LEDs 
Replacing existing refrigerated case lighting with LED case lights not only improves energy efficiency, it also creates a more comfortable and attractive environment for shoppers. LED refrigerator case lights visually enhance products, leading to higher sales. In addition, LEDs respond much better in cold temperatures than fluorescents, which are negatively impacted by cooler temperatures3.

2. Retrofit aisles and storage areas with LED high- and low-bay lighting 
Replacing HID or fluorescent high- or low-bay aisle and storage lighting with LEDs greatly reduces energy consumption and maintenance costs while also enhancing floor-level light quality and output. LED high- and low-bay lighting further reduces energy consumption because it emits less heat, leading to lower cooling loads, turns on and off instantly, and can be easily integrated with lighting controls.

3. Switch to LEDs in exterior areas
The reliable, high-quality white light provided by LEDs makes them perfect for exterior areas, like parking lots and walkways. And because exterior lighting fixtures are often left on even when the store is closed, their much lower energy consumption compared to HIDs means huge electricity savings. To further increase the savings potential, grocery store owners can invest in added controls like dimmers and occupancy sensors to reduce unnecessary output. These fixtures also emit less uplight, which reduces light pollution and wasted light energy.

4. Install LEDs for accent and directional lighting
LED track, pendant and recessed downlighting are three different lighting options for grocery store owners and managers who want to recalibrate the way they highlight products. Strategically installing each type of lighting will enable a grocery store to improve the overall customer shopping experience while reducing energy waste and related operational costs. Track lighting in the form of directional spot floods highlight produce bins well, while pendants create a sense of ambiance and illumination over counters, and recessed downlighting is ideal for ceiling areas on the sales floor or near cashiers.

5. Replace refrigerated case lighting with LEDs
LEDs respond much better in colder temperatures than incandescents. Most importantly, LEDs emit far less heat. That means cold products will stay fresher longer, while also looking more appealing to customers. And the reduced cooling loads equal lower utility costs.

6. Install LED-compatible lighting controls
Waste may be the biggest culprit when it comes to excess electricity costs, but with lighting controls, that waste can be significantly reduced. Occupancy sensors, photosensors and dimmers are among the most effective lighting controls, reducing or increasing illumination based on need.

LEDs are particularly well-suited to lighting controls because they react seamlessly to dimming and other output variations.

7. Integrate LED replacements with daylighting techniques and technology
Daylighting – using natural outdoor light to complement indoor lighting design – is rapidly growing in popularity in grocery stores. When integrated with an energy efficient indoor lighting design that incorporates LED replacements, daylighting can make a sizable dent in electricity consumption for both lighting and heating and cooling loads.

Commercial lighting rebates for many of these efficient LED lighting products and techniques are available through Pacific Gas and Electric Company.4

To start reducing energy consumption in your grocery store, determine which products and technologies to consider for LED replacement through PG&E's eBook, "How to Get the Best Results from a Lighting or HVAC Project". Find out how having the right information and partner are essential for successful energy efficiency projects.


  2. U.S. Department of Energy
  3. U.S. Department of Energy