Located in Mary Esther, Florida
Annual Cash Savings: $5,000.00
Annual Energy savings: 60,000 kWh
Payback period: 1.4 years
Prevented 92,242 pounds of pollution
Who would buy a drab brown couch when they could have a brilliant burgundy sofa? When Fred Cochran, owner of Interiors by Casual Creations in Mary Esther, Florida, noticed that much of the furniture in his showroom looked dull and colorless, he began investigating today’s lighting technologies to try to improve the appearance of his furniture show-room. Because much of the furniture looked plain, it was difficult for Cochran to evoke enthusiasm in his customers. Cochran soon learned that a new lighting system would not only improve lighting quality, but it would also reduce the energy usage of his business. With this new knowledge, he enlisted help from his local Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to help him transform his 22,000-sq.ft. facility into a real “show” room.
With help from the SBDC, Cochran chose a new lighting system to replace the 175 inefficient 4-lamp fixtures. To improve lamp output, the fixtures were replaced with 2-lamp fixtures using energy-efficient T-10, hi-lumen lamps. This alone cut the lighting bill in half.
The results from the lighting retrofit were remarkable. The showroom shined and the customers remarked about the new appearance of the merchandise. Although it was hard to quantify, Cochran was certain that the “new” vibrant and colorful furnishings helped to increase sales.
The office spaces also received a boost from the lighting change. The improved lighting quality raised productivity levels and company morale, breathing new life into the sales staff.
Cochran received his return on investment from these intangible improvements. He was also pleasantly surprised to see a reduction in his annual energy bill of more than $5,000 — a payback of a little more than a year on an investment of approximately $6,500. He had accomplished his goal of improving lighting quality while saving a significant amount of money on his utility bills.
Technicians from the SBDC also showed Cochran other low-cost modifications, mostly in the restrooms, that would help him cut energy usage.
From the time the store opened in the morning until it closed late in the evening, the restroom lights remained on at all times. Occupancy sensors that would turn the lights on when the restrooms were in use could be installed to save energy.
However, installing occupancy sensors can be tricky in restrooms. The restrooms contain stalls that can obstruct the sensors’ ability to detect people in the restroom — and leaving them stuck in a dark restroom is not a way to impress customers. There-fore, the occupancy sensors were installed in the ceiling. With the reduction in lighting usage, Cochran saves an additional $70 annually on a $300 investment in the occupancy sensors.
Cochran’s total investment was approximately $7,000, but the rewards have far outweighed the expense. He saves close to $5,000 annually and has a practically new showroom of home furnishings.