Garden supplies warehouse says good-bye to dim lights

Wholesale garden supplies guy full width
Ed Les, owner of Eddi's Wholesale Garden Supplies, at his company's Aldergrove warehouse. (Photo by Glenn Baglo, Vancouver Sun)

New lighting estimated to save $5,400 annually

When the Eddi's Wholesale Garden Supplies warehouse in Aldergrove was constructed in 2010, the owners wanted the large building to be an energy efficient and comfortable workspace.

They even had the entire space drywalled in an effort to keep it warmer during the winter.

Unfortunately, the metal halide lighting was dim, making product labels on high shelves difficult for staff to see. In addition, maintenance costs were high: the lights burned out frequently and were expensive to replace.

The final push to upgrade the lighting came during Eddi's annual trade show.

"A lot of the vendors complained that they had trouble reading under the lights and their signage didn't show up well," says Lori Cassetta, financial administrator for Eddi's. "That was the final motivation to make a change."

Better visibility with T5 fluorescents

Last spring, the owners undertook a lighting upgrade for half the warehouse, replacing the metal halides with T5 fluorescents.

"They did half first, because of the up-front expense, and also to test out the lighting," says Cassetta. "And the difference between the two areas is significant — it's night and day."

The advantages of T5 fluorescents include:

  • A brighter, more diffuse lighting that doesn't dim over time like metal halides
  • Better colour rendering, making it easier to see and read labels
  • Longer-lasting bulbs, which cut maintenance costs

The difference is so distinct that Eddi's order pickers call the back of the warehouse, where there's still the old lighting, "night time."

Rebates cut costs by 15 per cent

The new lighting was in place for the 2012 trade show, making everything easier to see. As well, the warehouse staff are much happier with the brighter lights.

And that's not the only good news.

"After we decided to do a lighting upgrade, our building contractor told us about the BC Hydro rebates," says Cassetta. "That was an added bonus."

Eddi's received a rebate of $9,000 from BC Hydro and an additional 10 per cent top-up from the LiveSmart Small Business program, for rebates totalling $9,900, cutting the cost of the upgrade by about 15 per cent.

BC Hydro estimates the new lighting will save the warehouse $5,400 annually in energy costs, in addition to savings from reduced bulb maintenance.

"Getting the rebate was easy," says Cassetta. "And the turnaround time was very fast."

Bright lights and fresh produce keep staff happy

The staff won't need to work in "night time" for much longer. Now that they've seen the difference new lighting can make, Eddi's owners plan to complete the lighting upgrade for the rest of the warehouse.

And brighter lighting isn't the only great thing about working at Eddi's. Cassetta says, "The owner is a gardening fanatic. There are strawberries and loads of vegetables growing on site, so we always have buckets of produce in the staff lunchroom all spring and summer."

In addition, staff are invited to have their own garden plot and grow food for themselves out back.