Low Watt T8: 100,000 in Annual Savings


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Three years ago, Seattle-based Bartell Drugs made the decision to transition its existing store lighting from standard 32 watt linear fluorescent lamps to more energy-efficient 25 watt lamps. At 36,000 total lamps, representing an estimated $100,000 in annual savings, there was a clear and compelling business case for this lighting upgrade.

Established in 1890, Bartell Drugs is the nation’s oldest family-owned drugstore chain, with 64 locations around the Puget Sound region. As a locally-operated business, the company focuses on providing easy, affordable health care services, and prioritizes energy efficiency measures to help keep its stores “clean and green.”

“We looked at all the different factors with our lighting distributor and knew we would get greater energy savings, larger rebates from utilities, and an opportunity to really extend our group relamp cycle,” said Bob Edwards, Director of Construction and Facilities at Bartell Drugs, explaining the decision to switch to 25 watt lamps with Pacific Lamp & Supply Company.

“At Pacific Lamp, we appreciate how quickly and easily these lamps save our customers energy and money,” added Spencer Miles, Pacific Lamp Vice President. With the largest light bulb inventory in the Pacific Northwest, Pacific Lamp is actively recommending low wattage T8 lamps to its customers as a cost-effective way to achieve energy efficiency in commercial buildings.

With only 12 stores left to relamp by the end of 2015, Bartell Drugs has nearly completed its transition to 25 watt T8s in all existing locations. The drugstore chain has benefitted greatly from extending its relamp cycle from three to five years. The new lamps tout 70,000 hour lifetimes, and Bartell staff didn’t notice any change in light levels after the conversions.

When asked if they considered switching to LEDs, Edwards said they look at LEDs for new construction where it makes sense, but not for their group lamp replacements.

Edwards remarked. He was also impressed with the speedy payback for the 25 watt T8s. So far he has seen an average payback of two years, with some locations as fast as just one year.

Bartell Drugs credits its successful lighting upgrade to following the company’s preplanned relamping timeline. This helped make the transition easier on the maintenance crew and sales staff by reducing interruptions in stores. Edwards was amazed with the minimal maintenance needed after installing the 25 watt T8s – there have been very few lamp failures since installation.

Edwards shared the advantages of group relamping, “Thanks to group relamping, we maintained our light levels and reduced our maintenance costs.” For other businesses looking for simple ways to save money, Edwards says: “Embrace these changes in lighting. If you’re relamping, low watt T8s save on energy use without sacrificing light quality. Switching to 25 watt T8s has been a very positive experience for Bartell Drugs.”

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