Located in Iowa City, IA
57,439 sq. ft. shopping mall
“Obstacles were few. Successes were many. We have saved money on utility bills and made the mall safer overall.“ — Jack Tank Manager, Eastdale Plaza
Eastdale Plaza in Iowa City, IA, has found a way to be more comfortable and visually pleasing for its customers and staff while at the same time reducing its operating expenses. The mall recently underwent a series of energy efficiency measures that have drastically cut utility costs and have the added benefit of making the mall’s climate more comfortable and the mall’s lighting brighter and warmer.
Because of the mall’s dedication to improving energy efficiency — and thus decreasing the amount of pollution caused by generating power — while also reducing operating costs and becoming more profitable, it received a year 2000 ENERGY STAR for Small Business Award.
The mall replaced 85 percent of all interior lights throughout the 57,439 sq. ft. building with highly efficient T-8 fluorescent lamps with electronic ballasts. According to Jack Tank, the manager of Eastdale Plaza, the new lighting has increased overall light in the mall and has decreased the number of shadows. The cost savings are two-fold: electricity costs for lighting are lower and labor costs for replacing burnt out bulbs have decreased since fluorescent lamps have a very long life.
In addition, the new lighting shines an appealing light on the mall’s many products, possibly increasing sales. In addition, all the mall’s heating and air conditioning units were replaced with energy efficient units. The roof of the mall was replaced with a white EPDM material to reflect heat, increase insulation, and prevent leaking.
The investment has paid off. Tank says heating and cooling costs have dropped a whopping 30 percent, and lighting costs have decreased significantly as well.
The energy efficiency project at the mall took about 8 months to complete, but Tank says the results were well worth it. The mall costs less to operate, which of course increases profitability. The new heating and air-conditioning units make the mall more comfortable to customers and staff, helping to ensure the kind of environment conducive to productivity and high sales.
The improved lighting not only reduces energy costs and maintenance, but also makes the mall appear brighter and friendlier, factors that should also increase sales. Moreover, the improved lighting makes the mall safer for customers and more secure for shop owners. “We have saved money on utility bills,” Tank says, “and also have made the mall safer.” That’s an unbeatable combination.
Tank has some advice for any business thinking about lowering its energy costs: “Make sure you ask lots of questions,” he says, “and do the research to see what products will work best for your facility.”