Regional grocery chain Brookshire Grocery Co. has made huge sustainability improvements in its Tyler, Texas-based distribution warehouses with the recent introduction of LED lights and lighting controls. Just a few months after these changes, the company has announced a drastic reduction in energy usage — and is even helping to decrease its carbon footprint.
The main reason for the savings comes from the actual light fixtures, which use cutting-edge technology to provide analytical feedback regarding occupancy and maintenance. Each fixture can be controlled separately and has occupancy time and light-level variable controls to help keep lights dimmed or off when not in use.
“The lighting controls are linked to an occupancy sensor that records information to determine occupancy levels in the warehouse,” says Greg Nordyke, executive vice president – corporate development. “We can then use that information to help us determine where product is placed to improve efficiency. The controls also are capable of alerting leadership when maintenance is needed. This improves efficiency by not relying on visual checks.”
In fact, the energy for lighting the 266,000-square-foot frozen foods warehouse has been reduced by 95%. Total savings in these facilities from the new lights is the equivalent of powering about three of the company’s grocery stores.
“The previous lights and fixtures didn’t have the capabilities to be dimmed and had to be left on all the time because it took too long for them to come back on,” says Nordyke. “The new lights can be turned on and off without any sort of delay, and are 100% bright automatically, which is why we are seeing savings.”
Not only can the new lights be controlled separately, but they also provide analytical feedback, which allows the company to use the lights in the most efficient way. They also make working conditions better and safer by producing a brighter and more natural light. Even though these new lights are just in refrigerated spaces and production floors, there is discussion about incorporating these lights in BGC stores.
“These updates represent a paradigm shift in lighting, which means we use the energy when we need it, where we need it and at the level we need it,” Nordyke adds. “Before the upgrades, light flooded into all areas all the time, now it is concentrated into only areas where and when it’s needed. With the integrated controls we can tailor the lighting levels of all spaces to meet the actual work needs at any time of the day, week, or year.”
The company’s environmental services team continues to research other ideas that can help reduce BGC’s overall carbon footprint. “We are committed to the environment and to sustainability. These efforts have already helped us achieve drastic reductions in energy, which we believe will greatly benefit our company and our community,” says Nordyke.