Energy-Efficient Lighting Helps Self-Storage Owners Save Money and Better Serve Customers
Copyright 2014 by Virgo Publishing.
By:
Posted on: 07/15/2011



 

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 29 percent of electricity used in the United States is related to lighting. Recent industry reports estimate that as much as 41 percent of electricity used by self-storage facilities is for the sole purpose of lighting.

Most storage facilities are using outdated light bulbs. High pressure sodium (HPS) and metal halide (MH) lighting is inefficient, wasting electricity and producing a poor-quality light. To compound matters, these older lamps don’t last as long as newer alternatives, driving up maintenance and recycling costs. Chances are the lighting at your facility is cutting into your bottom line every single month.

Getting on the Efficiency Bandwagon

There’s a national movement to increase energy efficiency through better lighting. In fact, several state and federal legislators have passed laws that will phase out most incandescent light bulbs. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 requires all general-purpose light bulbs to be 30 percent more energy-efficient than current incandescent bulbs by 2014. Most light manufacturers agree this spells the elimination of incandescent lights. The enacted efficiency standards will start with 100-watt bulbs in January 2012 and end with 40-watt bulbs in January 2014.

Self-storage owners know controlling the bottom line is essential. New lighting solutions can reduce lighting-energy use by as much as 90 percent while eliminating maintenance expense for up to 12 years. LED lighting lasts two to five times longer than traditional light bulbs. The end result is a significant reduction in monthly expenses for bulb changes. Energy prices are expected to rise significantly over the next five years, making energy reduction even more beneficial.

Lighting not only impacts expenses, it affects customer service and security. People feel more secure in well-lit areas, and lighting is important for storage accessibility in the evening hours. Though better lighting can’t guarantee safety or eliminate all potential crime, studies have shown that good lighting will improve customers’ perception of safety and reduce instances of opportunistic crime. According to the International Crime Free Association, enhanced lighting plays a significant role in reducing criminal activity at self-storage facilities and improves security-camera images by producing clearer images.

Lighting improvements can also help reduce a self-storage operator’s legal liability. Lighting quality and brightness is often a point of concern in premises liability litigation. Facility owners with better lighting report fewer premises liability lawsuits.

“Green” isn’t just a buzzword. Customers are using their wallets to reward companies who take steps to reduce their carbon footprint and implement sustainable business practices. Energy-efficient lighting reduces electricity use and landfill waste, and doesn’t contain mercury or other harmful elements like fluorescent lighting.

A Tempe Facility Turns a New Bulb

This year, the owner of Tempe Storage Co. in Arizona wanted to update the facility’s exterior with energy-efficient lighting to significantly reduce electricity costs and improve light quality for customers. After replacing its 44 215-watt HPS lamps with 26-watt LED fixtures, the facility reduced its lighting-energy consumption by 87 percent.

In addition to the energy savings, the LED lighting increases onsite security and provides a brighter night-time loading and unloading environment for tenants. The new lights have improved the ground lighting by an average of 20 percent, and the facility’s new appearance provides a higher street-level attraction for marketability and awareness.

“We want to provide our community a safe, secure place to store their personal and business valuables, and better lighting helps us deliver on our customer-satisfaction promise,” says facility owner Terry Blakemore. “We are able to pass along our reduced energy savings to our customers by keeping our monthly rental prices very competitive, especially considering we are Tempe’s newest storage facility.”

The facility also dramatically reduced its future lighting-related maintenance expenses, since LED lamps have a 12-year estimated life. Blakemore projects his annual electricity savings and reduction in maintenance expenses will total nearly $4,000 per year. The return on investment over 12 years is more than 500 percent, with breakeven in just 30 months.

In addition, Blakemore was able to take advantage of utility rebates, which paid for nearly 20 percent of the upgrade project. He’s also eligible for a 100 percent tax deduction through The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010.

Retrofitting a self-storage facility with LED lighting is a popular way to save on energy costs, as LED lights consume an average of 50 percent to 80 percent less energy compared to traditional lighting. Additional savings include maintenance and replacement costs, as LED lights average 50,000 hours of use and produce very little heat.

Tempe Storage Co. reduced its electricity and maintenance expenses while improving the safety and sustainability of the facility. With energy-efficient lighting, everyone wins.

Daniel Henderson is the CEO of Relumination, which provides LED lighting solutions. The company offers a complete service program including free lighting assessments, rebate and cost-savings analyses, financing solutions to maximize return on investment, new and retrofit installation, and complete project management. For more information, 888.48.LIGHT; e-mail savenow@relumination.com ; visit www.relumination.com .