News, Retail

Why it pays to swap T5 lamps for LEDs

Coming to a Woolworths car park near you: the retailer is planning to roll out its LED lighting scheme to other stores following the massive energy savings it achieved in Coorparoo.

Compared to other conventional lighting solutions, T5 is still seen by some as too efficient for the facilities team to justify upgrading to an LED lighting system. But combined with controls, even the leap from T5 fluorescent lighting to LED can yield significant savings.

Woolworths is a case in point; the retailer’s branch in the South Eastern Brisbane suburb of Coorparoo managed to save 77 per cent energy in its car park area with LEDs and occupation sensors, and earned a Peak Load Reduction Reward for its efforts.

One of the reasons the management was looking for a new solution was the amount of hours the light was on in the car park. The T5 fittings, which had an average life span of two years, were on all day and night, with no control system in place. 

The entry to the car part was lit with twin 28W T5 fittings which had been retrofitted in 2012.

When most of the T5s predictably started to fail at the same time, James Dwyer of Jones Lang Lasalle (JLL), which has a national building management contract for Shopping Centres Australia’s 77 retail assets, investigated lighting upgrade options. Dwyer was looking for a solution that would last longer than the T5s and save Woolworths the costs of frequent lamp replacements and maintenance.

The JLL team had recently completed a fire stair and car park lighting upgrade at CP1, a commercial office tower in Brisbane, where LEDs were installed. The positive feedback from the building manager there helped convince Shopping Centres Australia, the owners of Woolworths, that LED was the way forward.

Lighting manufacturer Enlighten helped Dwyer complete an unbudgeted capital expense application and detailed return on investment projection, which ‘impressed the owners and ensured that my application was approved,’ Dwyer said.

Dwyer opted for Enlighten’s Chameleon light fitting, which is built for long-lit areas such as fire stairs, car parks and back of house areas.


No more wasted light

Most of the new LED fittings will only be on when needed, thanks to an in-built motion sensor which instantly switches the light from the standby 8W light output to the full 35W output for a set period of time which can vary between 15 seconds and five minutes. When the set time ends, the light output returns to standby mode.

A 90W 2 module Cetus LED low bay light from Enlighten was installed in the car park entry. This fitting actually represented a net increase in energy consumption compared to the existing T5 fixture (68W including ballast), but it was necessary to improve the light levels in this area.

All lights were replaced on a one for one basis, with each parking bays having a standard 12 chip bulk head installed. The fittings lighting the driveways are permanently on, and the ones approaching a turn have side-emitting optical lenses to ensure good visibility.


An extra incentive

Coorparoo’s Woolworths is located in an area with electricity supply constraints, which means it qualified for a Peak Load Reduction Reward. Energy-saving scheme Energex rewards businesses within the area that contribute to reducing demand on the network during peak periods by replacing lighting with more energy efficient lighting. The reward payment given to Woolworths is estimated to be $500 for this upgrade.


The savings in numbers

The new LED lighting will save an estimated 77per cent energy in the car park area, which equates to 30,504 kWh per year. The project capital cost was $21,250 after the incentive payment, with a project payback calculation from energy and maintenance savings of 2.7 years.

According to Dwyer, the project has been well received. ‘The Chamaeleon fitting is perfectly suited to our undercover car park operation and I have received an immense amount of positive feedback from the tenants,’ he said.

Dwyer is planning to retrofit another shopping centre’s undercover carpark lighting with in early 2015.




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