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Wal-Mart Says Switch to LEDs Could Net 66% Energy Savings

Wal-Mart is outfitting low- and medium-temperature refrigerated display cases in over 500 U.S. stores with GE LEDs from GELcore, a GE Consumer & Industrial business.

In stores where the LEDs will be put to work, Wal-Mart expects to net up to 66 percent energy savings, compared with fluorescents. Wal-Mart will employ occupancy sensors and LED dimming capabilities to reduce the time the LED refrigerated display cases are at 100 percent light levels – moving from 24 to approximately 15 hours a day.

“GE’s inventive LED Refrigerated Display Lighting Solution is a strategic tool in Wal-Mart’s pursuit of a 30 percent reduction in energy and 20 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions at our stores,” says Charles Zimmerman, vice president of prototype and new format development at Wal-Mart. “These are the kinds of commitments that we’re making to be both an efficient and profitable business, as well as a good steward of the environment.”

The combined environmental impact of a 500-store installation represents an annual 35-million pound reduction of carbon dioxide emissions. It also equals the good that comes from planting over 4,464 acres of trees or removing over 3,143 cars from the road for every year the LED lighting operates in place of fluorescent lighting. Wal-Mart estimates energy cost savings of a 500-store retrofit – one of the top energy-saving initiatives it will pursue in 2007 – will exceed $2.6 million annually.

Wal-Mart reports that subsequent phases of the initiative will be aimed at retrofitting existing refrigerated display cases at many of its worldwide network of 6,689 stores.

GE says the LEDs save watts by lessening the load on the compressor. For every light watt reduced in a frozen food case, the compressor works less hard, saving ~ 0.45 watts. On a 5-door case, the additional energy savings from a reduced load on the compressor, can reach 70 watts vs. T8 fluorescent; 134 watts vs. HO fluorescent; and 330 watts vs. VHO fluorescent. According to GE, re-lamping cycles can extend beyond five years instead of the 2-year cycle time that is typically associated with fluorescent lamps.

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