Freezer Lights

We had a bright idea. We thought: Let’s see what happens when we replace our traditional fluorescent freezer lights with light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

We learned that these nifty energy savers out perform regular light bulbs and are better for the environment, but we still had some questions: Would they pay for themselves? Would they perform well? Would they last? In theory, they would. But we needed to know for sure. So we put on our thinking caps and decided to perform an experiment.

“In a retail environment, it’s important to make sure the products look good and are well lit,” says Market of Choice Sustainability Coordinator Scott Cook. “We needed a test subject, so we chose a freezer door at our Franklin store. We made some hardware adjustments, installed the bulbs and plugged it in.”

The result? “They’re saving energy, they’re brighter and they perform well,” Cook says. “We believe we can cut our freezer light energy use by 60 percent with this program.”

(Take a look at the photo, above. Can you tell which coolers have the new LEDs and which don’t?)

The new LEDs use approximately 18-20 watts of energy, as compared to a traditional fluorescent that consumes 44-watts. In addition to their energy-saving allure, they last up to five times longer. And they don’t contain mercury, which is better for the environment.

Resistant to humidity and moisture, the LEDs also perform especially well at low temperatures and put off less heat, so they’re perfect for coolers and freezers.

We realized an up-front cost, of course, but expect to re-coop our investment. If you ask us, we’re pretty much sold on the idea.

We have since installed them in all of our freezers. And we’re adding them with any new construction going forward. Using less energy saves money, and that’s a good thing – for us and our planet!