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B.C.'s wine superstore switches to LEDs, gains valuable retail space

Image of Everything Wine interior

Burnouts and unwanted heat from MR16 halogen track lights trigger a change

Wine lovers know that unwanted exposure to heat and light can wreak havoc on a bottle of wine. Exposure to these two elements can age a wine prematurely, which is why industry aficionados, like Rory Conroy, store manager at Everything Wine in North Vancouver, go to great measures to safeguard their stock.

"A single bottle of Ornellaia, a red wine blend sourced from Tuscany, costs close to $200 CAD," says Conroy. "We simply couldn't risk merchandising the Ornellaia or any other bottle of wine near the MR16 halogen track lights that used to frame the store's Vintages Room. The halogen lights gave off too much heat, and the quality of the wine would have been in jeopardy."

As a result, the top shelf in the Vintages Room sat empty for months. That's a waste of valuable retail space. On top of that, the halogen bulbs were burning out on a weekly basis and Conroy, already frustrated, couldn't find a reliable MR16 halogen light bulb supplier. "The minute I changed a burnt-out bulb, another bulb would go out," he notes. "I couldn't get to the burnt-out bulbs fast enough. I was out of replacement bulbs and there was no new stock in sight. Everything Wine prides itself on its clean and well-maintained stores, and I was about to have burnouts all over the store."

Conroy decided it was time to upgrade to longer-lasting lights, and finally deal with the unwanted heat production from the halogens. The next step was figuring out the best way to do that.

As luck would have it, a Power Smart Alliance member was one of his next customers

"Usually, a conversation with a customer revolves around new releases, a region's terroir and how to properly store a purchase," Conroy continues. "When Franco De Biasio [a Power Smart Alliance member] came in the store, the conversation quickly shifted from recent Okanagan-region releases to burnt-out bulbs."

That day, Conroy learned that De Biasio's company was a member of BC Hydro's Power Smart Alliance. Besides helping companies plan and implement energy-efficiency upgrades, Alliance members know the ins and outs of rebates and the financial incentives available to B.C. businesses. Conroy feels that the Alliance is an excellent resource, especially for businesses such as his that don't keep an electrician or energy manager on staff.

Conroy comments that the work was efficient and straightforward. The project's discovery and discussion phase lasted about six weeks, including the time it took to choose the right LED technology for the facility and submit the online application for a Power Smart rebate.

New LEDs are warm-toned, don't emit extra heat and save on replacement costs

In April 2014, Conroy and his team completed their lighting upgrade, replacing 114 MR16 halogen track light blubs with LEDs. To save costs, Conroy recruited members of his team to help install the new LED lights after business hours. The installation took about one week.

The lighting upgrade qualified the store for a $1,288 rebate from BC Hydro. The rebate, combined with the projected annual energy savings of 21,960 kWh per year, give the store an estimated payback period of 18 months — a blink of an eye, says Conroy. Maintenance costs are down too: not a single LED light bulb has had to be replaced since April.

Even better, Conroy now proudly displays the wine superstore's premium selection on the top shelf in the Vintages Room. For Everything Wine in North Vancouver energy-efficient LED lights and wine have proved to be a perfect pairing.