Light-emitting diode (LED) technology continues to evolve in efficiency and application since its invention 50 years ago by a General Electric scientist. Today, LEDs are touching virtually every fixture in the grocery store, and many supermarkets are looking for a total lighting solution that incorporates LEDs and more traditional lighting fixtures.
In addition to LEDs other significant innovations in supermarket lighting are intelligent lighting controls for accent and refrigerated display cases, colour management, adjustable light throw and distribution, adjustable lighting intensity and dimming, plug-and-play connectors, and adaptors and brackets for fast and easy installation.
LED fixtures can reduce energy costs of lighting by up to 85 percent, depending on the type of lighting currently in use, and that they also last up to twice as long as fluorescent lamps.
The latest generation of automated lighting control systems can provide payback periods ranging from as little as six months to 36 months, especially if a technology is chosen that doesn’t require expensive rewiring. Wireless systems are available that communicate with lighting fixtures over existing power lines and allow retailers to take advantage of a wide range of energy-saving practices.
There is greater emphasis now being put on LED lighting for horizontal refrigerated cases. In particular, customers look to illuminate their dairy, produce, meats and seafood with LED lighting versus traditional fluorescent lighting.
LED refrigerated display lighting systems that exhibit a higher CRI (colour rendering index) help to bring out the colours in packaging which can save grocers as much as 77 percent in energy costs when replacing traditional T12 high-output fluorescent tubes.
The ultra-slim-line design of the LED lights create an invisible light source easily integrated into the door frame and case mullions so that it doesn’t obstruct the shopper’s view. With these lights, product temperatures are 2 to 3 degrees cooler, therefore allowing more consistent product temperatures within the display zone.
Key focus areas for supermarket lighting products in the future will include intelligent lighting controls for accent and refrigerated display cases, colour management, adjustable light throw and distribution, adjustable light intensity, and waterproof, moisture-resistant LEDs.