Lighting is an essential component of retail success. The warmth and brightness sets the tone for customers from the moment they walk into a shop, while putting the spotlight (literally) on the items for sale.
Keeping everything well-lit can be expensive, however, so it is important to make sure that you are using the most efficient lighting system possible. Doing so will help you save on your bills while reducing your carbon footprint.
In this guide, we’ll help you work out what kind of lighting system best suits your retail space.
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Research has shown that for small or medium sized businesses, particularly those with mainly artificial lighting, keeping the lights on can take up to twenty percent of their whole energy bill.
Using an energy saving system can therefore help to reduce energy consumption massively, reducing your costs and allowing you to invest your money into growing other parts of your business.
On top of being more efficient, more modern energy saving light bulbs also last fast longer, meaning less money spent on maintenance, and less scrambling to find the right bulb in the event of an outage.
The best energy saving bulbs are LEDs (light emitting diode) and CFL (compact fluorescent) bulbs. Gone are the days when wasteful halogen and incandescent light bulbs were the norm. Only ten percent of energy used to power incandescent bulbs is actually used for light. The rest is wasted as heat, meaning that the air conditioning system has to work harder to cool the shop down, further adding to the energy wastage.
CFLs are around 10 to 20 percent more efficient than these traditional bulbs, whereas LEDs are a massive 75 percent more efficient.
LED light bulbs are by far the most efficient kind that you can buy. Not only do they use less power but they also last around 25 times longer than a traditional incandescent bulb, which burns a filament.
LED lights are quickly becoming the standard across the world because of this, and the technology they use is improving quickly. Most LEDs only emit light in one direction, although more recently designed bulbs can emit light in all directions, giving them a more natural feel, similar to traditional incandescent light bulbs.
There are some easy ways to make your increase the energy efficiency of your shop. Apart from simple behaviours, such as ensuring that your staff switch the lights off at the end of the day, you can also make your shop more ‘smart’.
For example, installing motion sensors, which turn lights on automatically when someone enters a room, and turn off when no one is in there, will prevent unnecessary energy use. These are particularly useful in areas where you do not always have customers, such as stockrooms, store offices, meeting rooms and toilets.
You can also install light sensors, which automatically turn off the lights in your shop when the natural light in daytime is strong enough. This not only helps you save energy, but gives you one less thing to think about, knowing that the brightness level will always be correct no matter what the season or time of day.
Or you can set timers to turn your lights on and off at certain times, or dim the lights when it gets dark and brighten in the morning.
The lighting system that you choose for your shop will depend on the kind of atmosphere you are trying to create. The easiest way to control this is to choose the correct warmth for your shop.
For example, if you sell sofas and wish to create a cosy, homely feel for your customers, much warmer white light bulbs would be the best suited for this. On the other hand, if you own a car showroom, and you want to put as much focus on the product as possible, consider using brighter LED bulbs, which make them stand out.
In grocery shops, you’ll want to make sure aisles are illuminated properly, and for this purpose an LED strip would be effective.
As with warmth, there is no one size fits all choice for shop brightness. However, you do want to make sure that customers can see your products clearly, so try to keep the light level in your shop between 20 and 70 lumens (unit of brightness) per square foot, depending on how bright you need something to be.
For example, if you are aiming to provide ambient lighting for a specific area, you will want about 20 lumens, whereas for shop floor lighting you may want a brightness closer to 50 lumens per square foot.