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Sports Junkies saves money and reduces waste – all year 'round.

For Sports Junkies owner Peter Hoffmann, reducing waste is a key part of the environmental consciousness that guides his business. The Vancouver-based shop deals in used sporting goods.

"We're in the recycling business," he says. "People recycle their sporting goods and reduce items going to the landfill. Anything we can do along that line is something we're interested in."

So when Hoffmann learned he could save energy by changing his lights from halogen to LED, he went for it.

As a result, Sports Junkies is saving energy — and money. "It looks like I'm saving almost $2,000 a year over a few different Hydro accounts," Hoffmann says.

He adds that there might be additional savings as well. "LEDs give out much less heat, they're more efficient that way, so I think we reduced our air conditioning bills in the summer, too."

Finding the right light for the job

There are a few aspects of lighting to keep in mind during any upgrade:

  • Suitability of the new lighting to the existing fixtures;
  • Lighting requirements and system layout;
  • Appearance and quality of the light necessary for the application.

One of the challenges for Hoffmann's lighting supplier was finding lamps (bulbs) with heads that would fit the shop's existing track light systems. In the end they found lamps to fit all the existing fixtures and, Hoffman says, "They used flood-type lamps that have more variability," so the LEDs are more omni-directional than they would otherwise be.

The appearance and quality of light is measured by its colour temperature and colour rendering index (CRI). Colour temperature is the measure of the warm (yellow) or cool (blue) appearance of light.

LEDs and the retail environment

One advantage of LEDs is that they have a constant colour temperature that can be easily manipulated to suit an application. The CRI is a measure of how faithfully a light source will reproduce colours as compared to sunlight, and so is important in a retail environment, particularly for clothing.

"Initially the quality of the light was too cold and clinical for retail," says Hoffman, "But then the supplier switched [the lamps] for ones that were warmer and closer to the light halogens give out. LEDs are really improving in that way."

LEDs are improving, and they are inspiring a revolution in lighting system design across the business and residential sectors. LEDs really shine in redesigned lighting systems that incorporate more task-focused fixtures and bring the light closer to where it's required.

Meanwhile, businesses such as Sports Junkies, at the forefront of LED lighting innovation, are finding ways to work with LEDs in their existing fixtures and lighting layout.

BC Hydro rebates speed up payoff

Hoffmann would recommend a lighting upgrade to other businesses, in particular if they can get the rebate from BC Hydro through the Power Smart Product Incentive Program.

"It's a really, really good deal," says Hoffmann. "If I didn't get the rebate, the change would have paid off in about two years, which is still good, but if you get the rebate, you're saving money from the start."

Find out more about BC Hydro incentives for energy-efficient lighting.