American Eagle Outfitters was just about to break ground on a 1.6-million-square-foot omni-channel distribution center when the company halted construction. The AEO team decided to reach out to trusted advisors at GE for a recommendation on LED lighting — and whether it could provide long-term maintenance and cost savings.
The distribution center, which was originally specified to include fluorescent lamps, is responsible for delivery direct to consumers and Internet customers as well as stocking for retail stores.
For the pick-module area alone, the original plans called for 14,000 fluorescent lamps that could have presented maintenance challenges. AEO would need a full-time maintenance employee just to replace burned-out fluorescent tubes.
GE was called upon to provide consultation on LED lighting for its cost savings and maintenance benefits as well as improved light output and vertical foot-candles on racks in aisles. After determining that LED lighting was ideal for the pick-module areas, the facility management team reviewed other areas—inside the offices and warehouse space, as well as the exterior of the facility—to identify ways LED could help them achieve LEED certification. AEO's executive leadership team valued the goal of achieving LEED certification, and the construction project proceeded with this objective in mind.
“We've worked with GE in the past at other facilities and have never had any complaints, so it was an easy decision to partner with them again,” said Brian Poveromo, senior maintenance and facility manager at the Hazleton distribution center. “Before choosing LED lighting, LEED certification wasn't on our radar, but the GE solution became the catalyst for heading down a path that provides benefits beyond lighting.”
The new AEO distribution center opened in June 2014 with 7,200 GE Albeo™ ALC4-Series fixtures, which are strategically mounted and arranged to illuminate conveyor belts and pick-module areas. These fixtures are equipped with controls, which turn the lights off when associates are not in an aisle to provide additional energy savings.
GE's Albeo ABV1 LED high bay fixtures were installed in a 200,000-square-foot section completed as part of a second phase of construction. Additionally, GE provided lighting in the warehouse with T5 fluorescent tubes, Lumination™ ET Series recessed LED troffers and LED downlights in the building's office space, and Evolve™ LED area lights and wall packs for the parking lot and outdoors.
Results & Benefits
Choosing GE's LED lighting prompted AEO to look more closely at other efforts throughout the facility to support LEED certification. In addition to installing energy-efficient lighting with controls, the facility was constructed with low-flow toilets and high-efficiency conveyors and without the use of volatile organic compounds (VOC). VOCs are organic chemicals that have a high vapor pressure at ordinary room temperature, meaning they emit air pollutants that can be harmful to the environment and to one's health.
Upon completion of the project, the distribution center became LEED certified at the Silver level, a feat achieved by earning 56 points in various categories specified by LEED.
Obtaining LEED Silver certification helps the distribution center stand out in the community. It's the only facility in its industrial park that is LEED certified and the community takes pride in having a high-tech distribution center in the area.
“We're very happy with the results. Our employees have said the lighting is less harsh and helps to better illuminate their work areas,” said Poveromo. “We've also seen that maintenance hasn't been a concern because fixtures are lasting longer.”
GE coordinated PJM capacity credits and PPL Electric Utilities rebates for American Eagle Outfitters. Nearly half a million dollars in E-power rebates from PPL and $128,000 for PJM capacity credits is expected, which would cover nearly the entire cost of the facility's upgrade to LED lighting from traditional technology.
“My advice to anyone else would be to look beyond cutting short-term costs. The long-term value for LEED building is a worthwhile investment.” said Poveromo.