All new Waitrose stores to be 100% LED

Speaking at LuxLive today, Toby Marlow, general manager of sustainable development at Waitrose, revealed that all new Waitrose stores will be lit 100 per cent by LEDs from now on.

Marlow described how the retailer’s Ipswich store has undergone a complete LED refit covering office, retail and warehouse space – resulting in an overall efficacy of just seven watts per square metre, reducing running costs by up to 42 per cent.

‘Moving towards LED has been a step-change in design,’ Marlow said. ‘We can now position light where we want it and make greater use of contrasts. Efficiency and colour rendering has improved dramatically and we’re now up to 130 lumens per watt,’ he told the audience at the event.

Marlow says the redesign is between 40 per cent to 42 per cent more efficient than its equivalent T5 scheme – savings that would not have been possible just a year ago.

LED lighting first got a foothold in refrigerators and freezers, because LEDs work well in the cold, but Marlow said: ‘We’ve gone beyond refrigerators now. Everything in the Ipswich store is lit with LEDs.’

He notes a difference to the in-store ambience thanks to the clear, bright light, but said that some of the best feedback has been customers saying they didn’t notice the difference at all.

LEDs had previously been trialled in a branch of Waitrose in Stratford, but the Ipswich store is the first branch to go completely LED. ‘All new developments will be completely lit with LED and more traditional technology will be phased out,’ added Marlow.

Marlow stressed that it’s important to choose the right luminaires, the right LEDs and the right design. But having said that, Waitrose has had only 33 driver failures from the 35,000 installed. ‘There’s work to do around warranties,’ he warned. ‘But we’re seeing payback in under three years, and in the new store the payback has been under two years. It’s win-win – if you do it properly.’