Bakery cuts in-store heat by removing halogens from kitchen, café

If you can't stand the heat... find a way to make your bakery café cooler. That's exactly what The Bakehouse at Dundareve accomplished by switching out heat-emitting halogens for LEDS.

West Vancouver's The Bakehouse in Dundarave cools off by investing in LEDs

The Bakehouse in Dundarave co-owner Kate Billington is a hard-working woman. Not only does she oversee the creation of The Bakehouse's homemade, preservative-free comfort food, she also works the register, visits with customers, fields phone calls from suppliers, restocks shelves and more, all while maintaining a happy and productive staff.

But it's not that frenetic pace that would make Billington uncomfortably hot — it was the high temperature inside the West Vancouver store. Heat from 26 halogen track lights, combined with round-the-clock use of the kitchen appliances, was driving up the temperature.

To compensate, Billington did what a lot of business owners do: she cranked up the air conditioning to create a more comfortable environment for customers and staff. The result was a sky-high BC Hydro bill.

To make matters worse, the store's halogen light bulbs were burning out on a weekly basis. Billington knew something had to change, but finding time in her busy day to solve The Bakehouse's temperature issues was a challenge, and the situation was outside her area of expertise.

Meeting with Power Smart Alliance expert proves pivotal

Thankfully, a Power Smart Alliance member was visiting businesses in the area, and happened to stop by The Bakehouse. After an initial consultation, the Alliance member suggested that Billington replace the store's eight incandescent lights with screw-in LEDs, and its 26 halogen lights with LED reflector lamps.

Billington was skeptical. Would switching to LEDs really help bring down the temperature inside the store? And would the LEDs emit the same warm-toned hue that she and her customers were used to? She also questioned why LED bulbs cost so much more than halogens.

Over coffee, the Alliance member shared his expertise. He told Billington that LEDs are much more energy efficient than incandescents and halogens, and that they last a lot longer too. Billington wanted to keep using her existing fixtures, and she learned that screw-in LEDs would work beautifully. She also discovered that LEDs emit no heat, which would help cut air conditioning costs.

"Before we switched to LEDs, I would stop by my local hardware store on a weekly basis to pick up replacement bulbs," says Billington, who estimates that she was replacing about four to six burnt-out halogen bulbs a month. "Since the LED installation, I haven't had to replace a single light bulb and the light in the store is as warm and welcoming as it was before."

The LED lighting upgrade at The Bakehouse qualified the store for a $376 Power Smart rebate. The rebate, combined with the projected annual cost savings of $913.50 per year, give The Bakehouse an estimated payback period of 12 months.

Even better, ever since the LEDs were installed, the store is now two to three degrees cooler. That, Billington says happily, means her air conditioning costs are down and her BC Hydro bill is much easier to swallow.