Better Day, Better Nights

One of the biggest challenges confronting store operators and facility managers is how to make a facility appear safe and inviting at night. Better Day BP, a gasoline station, convenience store and car wash in Racine, Wis., overcame the problem with light-emitting diode (LED) technology.

“By installing LEDs, the station is lit brighter than if we had lighted it with conventional fixtures,” said Tom Tousis, owner, Better Day BP. “The lights give everything a very clean look.”

Better Day BP opened in November. Tousis made the decision to go with LED technology midway through construction. Originally, he had planned a more traditional lighting strategy.

“But we saw the LED product (from Beta Lighting, a division of Ruud Lighting, Sturtevant, Wis.) at a petroleum marketers trade show and loved the way it looked,” he explained.

In addition to appearance, Tousis was motivated to implement LED lighting because of the opportunity it offered to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, and for its related energy-saving potential.

“The look projected by the LEDs is matched by the benefits of their excellent energy savings,” he added. “The projected energy use of the LEDs is two-thirds less that of traditional fixtures.”

Initially, Tousis was put off by the higher upfront cost of the lighting as compared to the more conventional metal-halide strategy. But when he put the cost of the LEDs on a spreadsheet that projected into the future, he saw that the initial cost would be offset by long-term savings with regard to energy use as well as maintenance and life expectancy.

“When you added up all these factors, it didn’t make sense not to go with LEDs,” Tousis said.

The owner was impressed that LEDS require virtually no maintenance.

“We haven’t serviced them once since we installed them,” he noted. “The lack of maintenance gives us one less thing to do and one less bill to pay.”

Better Day BP is outfitted exclusively with LED technology, and features 24 canopy lights, three pole lights and 29 exterior wall lights. It boasts that it is the first gas station in the nation to use all-LED lighting (the car-wash signs are also lit with LEDs).

Tousis plans to outfit the interior of the store with the technology, also.

“We’re still working on it, but the goal is for the interior to be fully lit with LEDs,” he added. “We plan to switch over as soon as the fixtures are ready.”