Sept. 28, 2017

Three downtown shops opt for LED upgrades to save energy

Warm, bright lights show true colors of merchandise

Ken Murphy, owner of Glenwood Adventure Co., talks on the telephone in the company's shop at 715 Cooper Ave. in Glenwood Springs. Murphy updated the ceiling fixtures with LED bulbs in July 2017, cutting the shop's overall electric use by 9 percent in the first month. “If I’d known it would be this easy, I would have done it years ago,” Murphy said.
Photo by Kelley Cox

Three downtown Glenwood Springs businesses are enjoying lower electric bills and better product lighting after replacing aging fluorescent lights with modern LEDs.

Glenwood Adventure Co.’s shop at 715 Cooper, the Sweet Adventures ice cream shop at 722 Cooper, and the Toad & Co. clothing store at 816 Grand all installed new energy efficient LED lighting in June and July.

“We are using the environment for our business,” said Ken Murphy, owner of Glenwood Adventure Co., an outdoors guide and outfitting business. “This lighting is better for the environment, so it’s better for our business.”

In the first full month after the upgrade, the Glenwood Adventure Co. shop used 9 percent less electricity compared to the monthly average from the previous year.

Murphy also owns Sweet Adventures across the street. He opted to upgrade the lighting in both buildings, and credits the action to his store manager, Logan Bartek. (Note: Sweet Adventures is no longer in business.)

“You do it for the long term,” Murphy said of the project. “We hope to be in this space for a long time.”

That said, rebates provided by Glenwood Springs Electric and CORE added together to offset half of Murphy’s project costs. Glenwood Springs Electric provides rebates for a variety of efficiency projects for its customers to reduce demand and control system costs.

With the rebates, the payback for the LED upgrades at the Adventure Co. shop is estimated at less than two years, and about three years at Sweet Adventures.

Lighting supplier OneSource Lighting of Grand Junction lined up the two projects with Bartek. The installation contractor, Green Tech Electrical of Glenwood Springs, completed the lighting change-outs in both stores in less than two days. Green Tech used the existing lighting fixtures at both stores, and simply replaced the old lights with LED tube-style bulbs and ballasts.

“If I’d known it would be this easy, I would have done it years ago,” Murphy said.

He described the new lighting as soft and bright, and said the LED bulbs deliver a steady light, unlike the flickering of the old fluorescents.

While remodeling an old storefront at 816 Grand Ave. in Glenwood Springs for the Toad & Co. retail clothing store, owner Jon Zalinski opted for sleek LED track lighting. Even the vintage style hanging bulbs over the sales counter, at right, are LEDs. Photo by Kelley Cox
Toad & Co. remodel uses efficient lighting from the start

One block away at Toad & Co., owner Jon Zalinski explained his approach to lighting. He purchased the building, which had previously been an attorney’s office and a bookstore, earlier this year.

Zalinski wanted the remodeling to make the ceiling and other off-kilter aspects of the vintage building disappear, putting the focus on eye-level merchandise. Carefully chosen lighting, installed by Green Tech Electrical, has accomplished those goals, he said.

Working with a fairly small space, he used track lighting, mounted on sturdy metal tracks suspended a couple feet below the ceiling. Knowing the high energy usage of halogen lights at Treadz, his store next door, Zalinski went with LEDs from the start.

“We have been providing free energy consulting to Jon for a few years through Garfield Clean Energy, helping plan for projects that will reduce energy use at Treadz,” said Erica Sparhawk, program manager for CLEER, which manages Garfield Clean Energy. “Jon is well aware of the technology that delivers good product lighting while being highly energy efficient.”

Zalinski took care to choose a warm light temperature for the LED bulbs to show accurate color and texture of garments. And the track lights can be tilted or moved to highlight displays that will change over time.

Green Tech installed other types of LED fixtures in the fitting rooms and in the small storeroom at the back of the store.

“I asked the contractor how much power all of this lighting pulls,” Zalinski said, “and he told me it’s about as much as just one of the old fluorescent fixtures.”

Toad and Co.’s lighting upgrade is estimated to deliver a payback in eight years – longer than Murphy’s two projects because Zalinski purchased new lighting fixtures. He too benefitted from rebates provided by Glenwood Springs Electric and CORE, which covered 38 percent of the project cost.

Garfield Clean Energy offers free building walk-throughs for retail stores and other commercial properties across Garfield County. Energy consultants can provide guidance on high-return investments in energy efficiency upgrades that increase comfort and productivity and reduce utility costs.