A little move, undertaken by a big guy, can make all the difference in the world.
So it is with Walmart — the retail behemoth with more than two million employees working in 11,302 stores under 71 banners in 27 countries and ecommerce websites in 10 countries drawing in sales of over $473 billion — and its decision to switch the incandescent lights that illuminate its retail pathways to LED bulbs.
To start, 200 new Walmart stores will adopt new GE LED ceiling lighting over the next two years. Given that LED fixtures use 40 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs, this move is expected to produce an energy savings of 340,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) per store. Calculated at 10.13 cents per kWh, that equates to a total energy savings of 620 million kWh over the next decade — equal to the elimination of 327,360 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. That’s about the same amount of annual greenhouse gas emissions produced by 68,000 passenger vehicles, or the energy about 30,000 American homes expend in a year.
More than that, this decision to switch to LED fixtures is predicted to produce in excess of $34,000 in savings for the massive organization annually. Sales floor lighting accounts for about 90 percent of the total lighting usage in each building.
The move finds its genesis in a pilot program at a store in South Euclid, OH, which, in October 2013, became Walmart’s first all-LED supercentre. Designed to provide intelligence on the savings to be had by such a switch, while also measuring the quality and efficiency of the GE lights, the project was eventually spun out into broader LED lighting installations in Walmart stores throughout the world.
Walmart recently announced that it will buy LED ceiling lighting fixtures for new supercentres in the States, along with stores in Asia and Latin America, and Asda locations in the UK.
Making this switch supports Walmart’s commitment to reduce the kWh per square foot of energy required to power its buildings by 20 percent globally by 2020.