Saving light & money: Getting smart about retail lighting
It’s not long now until the clock will go forward, and we can all start looking forward to brighter and sunnier days! For many of us at home, our household energy consumption will be less in lighter months compared to the winter. But, why is this not the case within the retail sector?
Making Retailers Reactive
The majority of supermarkets don’t currently adapt to external changes! Regardless of the time of day or the weather, the store’s bright fluorescent lights are still on full blast, even when there is external light flooding into the store. Due to this, many stores are spending an excessive amount on energy during the lighter months.
The retail sector as a whole spends millions each year on electricity bills and are one of the biggest energy consumers. Electrical energy consumption within supermarkets can vary widely depending on the type of store and how they operate, it can range from 700 KWh/m2 for hypermarkets to over 2000 KWh/m2 in convenience stores. An average supermarket spends $160,000 annually on energy and lighting accounts for between 15% to 25% of this.
However, lighting is a crucial element for many retailers and can have a massive impact on a shopper’s experience. It is a key component for creating an inviting environment, guiding customers through a store and drawing attention to specific products. Therefore, there needs to be a good balance between reducing energy bills and maintaining adequate lighting in stores.
With the integration of IoT devices, retailers have the potential to automatically control the internal store lighting based on external ambient light and not just in terms of on and off, lights can be adjusted to the correct lux. The consistent changing nature of the lights has the potential to save retailers thousands.
Optical IoT sensors can be placed on the external walls of a store, which consistently measure the physical quantity of light rays and convert this into an electrical signal. IoT sensors are also attached to the internal store lights so they can be connected to the cloud and are able to respond based on the data fed from the external sensors. Alongside this information from the weather API’s can also be fed into the cloud to provide as much detail as possible.
Thresholds can be created to determine what is considered bright, and internal light levels can be automatically altered to become dimmer when ambient light levels reach this threshold. The data from the external sensors is transmitted to a cloud-based platform where complex machine learning algorithms are used to automatically control store lights based on the information. Store managers have full visibility of the changes through their user dashboard and still have the authority to make changes if needs be.
Having lights that constantly adapt to the external environment, means lights are no longer constantly turned on at full brightness, wasting an excessive amount of energy. Lights are now being used based on a need basis, reducing artificial light in a store without having a negative impact on the customer experience. This can also significantly reduce overall energy consumption within a store, helping retailers to save thousands on their energy bills and reach their corporate sustainability targets.
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