In Victoria, burnt-out halogens no longer a thorn in florist's side

Image of florist's work bench
Many LEDs can fit into existing ceiling fixtures, allowing you to retain the overall look and feel of your retail space.

Lighting upgrade saves Victoria-based florist $735 a year in energy costs

Rob Jennings, President of Jennings Florists, cares about the size of his business' environmental footprint. Since his great grandparents opened the flower shop in 1920, the Victoria-based business has built a reputation for supporting local growers and producers.

"We're an island-based business offering a perishable product," Jennings says. "What I don't source locally, I have to transport to Victoria by refrigerated truck on BC Ferries. Buying decisions can really affect the size of the shop's environmental footprint. That's why I try to only buy flowers and plants grown on southern Vancouver Island. It's also why I decided to stop buying halogen and incandescent light bulbs."

Before switching to LEDs, Jennings replaced burnt-out halogen bulbs every week

"When I used halogens in the shop's ceiling fixtures, I was at the hardware store on a weekly basis to pick up replacement bulbs," says Jennings. "I would stand in the aisle and stare at all of the screw-in LED options, but because I didn't know what I needed, I couldn't justify the price for an LED bulb."

Tired of halogens, Jennings tried incandescents and compact fluorescents (CFLs) but they didn't meet his expectations. The incandescent bulbs didn't look good in his existing ceiling fixtures, and the CFLs took too long to warm up when he opened the store in the morning.

In the end, his ceiling was peppered with a little bit of everything.

Installing the right LED, in the right application, is key, advises Power Smart Alliance member

Thankfully, a Power Smart Alliance member was visiting businesses in Victoria's Oak Bay area, and stopped by Jennings Florists. The Alliance member talked to the Jennings at length about his requirements: he wanted contemporary-looking, energy-efficient lighting that required little maintenance. He also wanted to keep his existing ceiling fixtures.

After the initial consultation, the Alliance member suggested that Jennings replace the store's 33 lights with multifaceted reflector (MR) LEDs. Lighting is a vital factor in a product's presentation and MR LEDs are suited to applications that require directional lighting, like retail displays. He also recommended that Jennings apply for a Power Smart Express incentive to help offset the cost of buying the 33 LEDs in one fell swoop.

Jennings admits that he was a bit hesitant about the upgrade. After all, LED bulbs cost so much more than halogens.

Understanding his concern, the Alliance member left a handful of MR LEDs behind for Jennings to try. "The impact was immediate," recalls Jennings. "The quality of light was excellent, the new LEDs looked great in my fixtures, and not a single bulb burnt out during our 10-day lighting test."

The lighting upgrade qualified for a financial incentive of $1,186.50 from BC Hydro, and Jennings expects to recoup his investment in the LEDs in less than 12 months. A result, this small business owner, says he's delighted with.

BC Hydro's Power Smart Express Program helps businesses reduce their operating costs through the implementation of energy-efficiency projects. Incentive levels will vary depending on your business and the technologies you select, but multifaceted reflector (MR) LEDs typically receive incentives that cover 33 per cent of the cost of the bulb and its installation.