Victoria pub cuts its lighting energy consumption by half

Nina Winham

When 110 people might pay you a visit for a West Coast Chowder or a classic Beagle Burger (upsized to a Great Dane for folks who are hungry) – you need more than a few lights. And if you open before lunch and stay open 'til late, it’s nice if all those lights in your large serving room are dimmable, so you can match the mood and keep the pub cozy.

That’s why the owners of the Beagle Pub in Victoria were happily surprised when a BC Hydro specialist helped them figure out how they could switch to energy efficient lighting.

“BC Hydro gave us some help knowing what was out there,” says Neil Baird, one of the four owners of the Beagle. “I don’t think any of us really knew what options we had. You see the twisty bulbs at the store, and that’s all you know. I didn’t realize there are dimmable energy saver bulbs.”

With an assessment from BC Hydro, the foursome decided to move ahead on a variety of lighting upgrades. In the main pub room, they installed dimmable bulbs (an example suitable for restaurants is cold cathode lamps.  They changed lighting in the bathrooms, switched to LED exit signs, changed their exterior lighting, and chose LED for their decorative holiday lighting.

Baird also credits his lighting supplier, Albrite Wholesale Lighting Distributors,  for making the upgrade easy. “They filled in all the paperwork [for the BC Hydro Product Incentive Program],” he says. “It would have been a little more discouraging if I’d had to do all the paperwork myself, but I didn’t. It was great.”

Want to see what your business might save with a lighting retrofit? Check out BC Hydro online calculators according to your industry.

Cutting energy use by 50% and more

Since the lighting upgrade about six months ago, Baird says the pub has cut its energy consumption by more than half. “We’re spending less on electricity, though our bill hasn’t changed a whole lot due to rate changes. But we’ve gone from 380 kwh a month before [the upgrade] to about 160 now, so it’s really cut us back quite a bit.”

Baird says that with the Beagle’s status as a neighbourhood pub, it made sense to get into conservation. (The owners have taken steps to cut water consumption too.) “We’re trying to do our best to save power,” says Baird. “We all felt it would be a good thing for people to see we’re making an effort, and some of the BC Hydro rebates were fantastic.

"We’ve had a few positive comments from customers – and I’m sure we would have had even more negative comments if we hadn’t done anything. It’s a bit hard for people to understand, since the dimmable bulbs just look like a regular bulb, but people do comment; I think they notice.”

If you’re interested in some advice about how to get your business started on energy efficiency, check out's Green Your Business guide, look through Power Smart's Commercial Programs, or call the Power Smart Business Helpdesk. There are lots of easy steps you can take to cut your energy use, and save money too.