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Setting the Fashion

16 November 2007

Switching off lights to save energy and reduce corporate carbon footprints, this is not an option in the retail sector. Jane Fenwick examines the issues and some solutions available to fashion retailers for whom good lighting is a business necessity

SHOPS OF ALL KINDS FROM FOOD TO FASHION are dependent on lighting to create eye-catching window displays to attract customers inside, to light the merchandise to best effect and to create the right ambience.

Napoleon famously described the British as a nation of shopkeepers, an observation not far from the truth. UK retail sales were £256bn in 2006, larger than the combined economies of Denmark and Portugal. According to the Retail Consortium, 11 per cent of all enterprises in the UK are retailers, with 182,475 VAT registered businesses operating in 278,365 retail outlets (2006). Retailing generates almost 6 per cent of the GDP of the UK. More than a third of consumer spending goes through shops - sales over the internet account for less than 4 per cent of total retail sales. The retail industry employed 2.9m people at the end of June 2007 – that’s 11 per cent of the total UK workforce.

Faced with the same climate change pressures as the rest of the economy, retailers have the added challenge of maintaining the lighting levels to illustrate the texture and colour of their merchandise, ranging from sparkling jewels to mouthwatering food. Philips has addressed the retailers dilemma by developing a range solutions incorporating modern lighting technologies and that promise significant energy savings too. It first bought its CDM technology to the market in 1994 under the brand name MASTERColour. The range has continued to develop and improve offering better performance in terms of light output and longevity.

At the Milan Fashion Week last month, Philips hosted Illuminesca, a special lighting fashion event, to show off its MASTERColour Elite lamps for fashion retailers and designers. According to Tony Margan, an experienced visual merchandisers who lectures on the subject, “Visual merchanding is the language shops use to communicate with the public. If you are clever enough to have stopped people on the street through your window display, don’t disappoint them when they get into your shop. Lighting plays a huge role in visual merchandising. Unfortunately, it is often one of the fist things to get cut from the budget because it is not visible.”

MASTERColour Elite lamps provide fashion retailers with a crisp white light that gives the great ‘stopping power’ and consumes 70 per sent less energy than halogen alternatives. This better light quality remains constant throughout the life of the lamp – some 9,000 and 12,000 hours depending on the lamp wattage. All Elite lamps achieve a CRI (colour rending index) of 90 which together with increased levels of light output gives a much better representation of all colours in the spectrum and a more pleasant ambience inside the stores. A choice of 35W or 70W lamp versions will be joined by a 150W lamp in 2008.

MASTERColour is ideal for accent lighting, down lighting, wall washing, shop window displays, in power spots or for general illumination in shops of all kinds. At Lacoste in Berlin, the switch from halogen to CDM technology was based about 65 MASTERColour lamps. About 50 Mini 20W were positioned close to the display racks and shelves to illuminate the merchandise while and 15 CDM-T 35W were mounted near the middle of the ceiling for general atmospheric lighting. This arrangement gave about 50 per cent more light and 60 per cent less heat with the same number of 50W halogen lamps, and reportedly reduced maintenance and increased sales.

The energy efficiency qualities of the lamps are significant. Being 70 per cent more efficient than halogen, they can save 100grammes of CO2 per year per lamp. Within Europe, lighting in the retail sector currently uses 47Terra watt/hours per year, a total which Philips claims €1.35bn per year could be saved by switching to efficient lighting technologies such as MasterColour Elite.

A recurring issues for shops is the heat generated by lighting and it is a fact that most shops spend more cooling their premises than heating them. Every 1W reduction in lamp energy corresponds to 3W less air conditioner power. Minimising energy consumption in shops is a particular issue in Sweden, where legislation introduced in 2006 allocates a certain amount of energy per shop and anything over and above this is charged at a higher rate. In France’s Galeries Lafayette, the Boulevard Haussman store in Paris, has 35,000 lighting points and the store consumes 100,000kW/h per day. Commenting on the shop’s lighting strategy, Yves Auberty, senior VP for architecture. Technique and works, said, “After light quality, power consumption is the most important property of a lamp. The Philips metal halide lamps consume far less energy than before and give greatly improved lighting levels without using any more electricity. It is difficult to see past a lamp that consumes 20W of power but produced 60W of high quality light.”

More savings are promised with LED technology in the next few years. Currently Philips Affinium LED String Kits provides an advanced yet simply installed lighting system that provides architectural and decorative effects and can replace existing GLS, halogen and TL lighting. Power consumption is approximately 4W/m length and energy savings up to 80 per cent are achievable over conventional lighting. The company has also announced its new MASTER TL-D Eco range of energy saving linear fluorescent to replace existing T8 fluorescent lamps whilst providing energy savings more than 10 per cent and while the light output remains the same.

Link: Philips

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