Shared Value

Shared Value

New LED Lighting for Retail Locations

Benefits Customers and the Environment

Lighting is an important component of any retail location, particularly at night or during inclement weather. Effective lighting gives customers a feeling of added visibility and safety. And with recent advances in lighting technology, there is also the opportunity to use new lighting to reduce energy use and benefit the environment.

All these factors came together when Tesoro made the decision to invest in new light emitting diode (LED)  lighting for the exterior canopies and lot lights at most of its retail facilities. Businesses are increasingly using LED lighting to replace older incandescent lighting and fluorescent lamp bulbs.

Bill Hamilton, Senior Manager for Construction, Engineering & Maintenance, provided some perspective about the Company’s careful examination of LED technology.

“In the past, exterior lighting at most of our retail locations has been mostly metal halide fixtures,” Bill said. “While these have been effective, the new LED lighting offered a number of opportunities.”

LED lighting offers about a 60 percent reduction in power requirements and, as measured by foot candles, is two to three times brighter than the equivalent in metal halide lighting. It also avoids the use of potentially toxic materials that have sometimes been associated with conventional fluorescent bulbs. This, in turn, makes the task of eventual disposal much easier. And the lifespan of an LED is currently estimated at 10 years.

People also tend to like the quality of LED lighting, Bill said. “LED lighting offers a color ‘temperature’ that is very similar to that of natural daylight. And unlike older technologies, LED do not appear to change color over time.”

Before committing to a project of this scale, Bill and his team carefully investigated the options. They conducted a site survey, analyzed various options, and tested LED lighting at a number of locations. They then evaluated a number of potential suppliers.

The first phase of the new lighting was installed in 2013 and early 2014 at most of the retail locations in California and Alaska. The balance of Tesoro’s retail locations will be addressed in the remainder of 2014. When the project is complete, nearly 10,000 fixtures will have been replaced at 544 locations. The project, once completed, could save a total of 9,355,782 kilowatts (kW) annually.

The results, as shown in “before” and “after” photos, have been dramatic. The quality and quantity of the lighting has greatly improved. And according to Bill, that is just the start of the benefits. Chief among these is customer safety, which is enhanced when retail locations are as bright as possible.

The project reflected a clear sense of shared purpose; not just internally, but in common cause with other Tesoro stakeholders.

“This project is a win for multiple stakeholders,” Bill said. “Customer and community reaction to the new lighting has been positive. There have been many appreciative customer comments about how great it looks. And the environmental benefits include reduced energy use and reduced disposal of toxic materials.”

Utility providers have offered multiple rebates for LED lighting, because its energy savings lessen the load on their grids and limit their need to expand infrastructure. And Tesoro has obtained extra savings in states like Alaska and California, where energy costs tend to be higher than in other locations.

Find this story and learn more about Tesoro’s Guiding Principles in our 2013 Social Responsibility Report.