Everyday Savings

Family Dollar has reduced its energy consumption and maintenance needs by switching from 32-watt T8 fluorescents lamps to more advanced fluorescent technology. The retrofit also has improved store appearance.

In deciding on a new lighting system, Family Dollar wanted a consistent strategy that would incorporate brighter lighting and environmental sustainability while minimizing operating costs through reduced energy use. Sylvania Lighting Services (SLS), Danvers, Mass., a subsidiary of Osram Sylvania, assessed the existing T8 system, and found that a simple retrofit and re-lamping strategy would meet all of Family Dollar’s criteria.

The project got under way in January 2007. Within six to eight months of the initial installation, SLS had replaced the dated lighting system in 1,742 stores with more energy-efficient technology. (The company has a four-year contract with Family Dollar that calls for the entire chain to be retrofitted.)

“The new lighting will enable Family Dollar stores to become more energy efficient, while providing a brighter and more inviting store to enhance our customer’s experience,” said Craig Burleson, energy project manager, Family Dollar, Matthews, N.C., which operates approximately 6,400 stores in 44 states, and whose sales totaled $6.8 billion in fiscal 2007.

Family Dollar’s new lighting solution utilizes high-performance fluorescent lamps (FO 28 Supersaver Ecologic from Sylvania Octron). The lamps and ballasts were installed by SLS to standardize the systems throughout the stores, reducing replacement inventory needs.

The 28-watt, 4-ft. T8 Ecologic lamps average 24,000 hours of life when used on Sylvania’s high-efficiency electronic ballasts (Quicktronic). They provide 12.5% energy savings compared to the standard 32-watt T8 lamp.

To minimize disruption to the stores’ business, customers and employees, the installations took place at night. SLS also signed a four-year preventive-maintenance contract with Family Dollar whereby it provides annual inspections and on-call services.

“From the crews who installed fixtures to the project manager who over-saw the entire process, everything ran smoothly,” Burleson said.

The new lighting program will enable Family Dollar to reduce overall lighting maintenance costs and budget future lighting expenses out over four years. When the retrofit is completed, it is expected to produce more than a million dollars annually in total energy savings for Family Dollar. The retailer estimates that the project should pay for itself in less than three years.

Additionally, the energy-efficient lighting technology should qualify the chain to take advantage of tax benefits under the Energy Policy Act (EPACT) 2005.