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Efficiency Technology Energy Fall 2018

Supermarket Stocks up on Lighting Efficiency with Shared Savings

From the frozen food section to the produce department, supermarkets rely on proper lighting. Making smart decisions about this major energy user can impact the bottom line. Kevin Metcalfe of Metcalfe's Market used MGE's Shared Savings program to upgrade 3,000 light fixtures to LED technology.

Metcalfe's Cuts Lighting Costs with Shared Savings

Kevin Metcalfe of Metcalfe's Market used MGE's Shared Savings program to upgrade 3,000 light fixtures to LED technology.

"The lighting in our Hilldale store was aging—we knew there was more efficient technology available today compared to the incandescent lighting we installed more than a decade ago," said Kevin Metcalfe, Vice President of Metcalfe's Market. "As a long-time proponent of energy efficiency, we realized it was time for an upgrade."

Metcalfe worked with Upper 90 Energy on an in-depth lighting analysis and the upgrade that followed. The recently completed project involved replacing 99% of the lighting throughout the store—3,000 lamps and fixtures—with energy-efficient LED technology. It included everything from overhead lighting to the more specialized lighting in refrigerated cases. The project improved light quality and appearance of the store while cutting energy use.

The lighting upgrade came with a $200,000 price tag. Metcalfe's took advantage of an $8,250 incentive from Wisconsin's Focus on Energy program to lower the cost. The remainder was financed with MGE's Shared Savings loan program.

Through Shared Savings, MGE provides businesses with up-front financing for building upgrades to improve their energy use. The customer then repays the loan through energy savings. "In essence, Shared Savings was the reason we could tackle this project and, in turn, offer a better environment and a better product for our customers," Metcalfe said.

Energy savings and more

The lighting upgrade is expected to yield $58,000 in annual energy savings, which is more than half of the supermarket's lighting costs. Additionally, maintenance savings are estimated to be more than $12,000 annually. Metcalfe's will realize a full return on its investment in about three years.

"It's a win-win anytime we can enhance the shopping experience, save energy and cut costs," Metcalfe said. "That's precisely what this project and Shared Savings have allowed us to do."

Employees and customers are noticing the upgrade and sharing positive feedback.

"Our employees appreciate the lighter, brighter work environment," Metcalfe said. "Customers have commented on the more consistent lighting throughout the store. Some of them also have mentioned being drawn to departments they hadn't shopped in previously."

Another noticeable benefit is that LEDs do not impact food quality the way incandescents can, according to Metcalfe.

"In our experience, incandescent lighting may change the flavor of some foods or cause it to discolor, especially dairy," he explained.

Metcalfe's has a strong track record of making choices that protect the environment—from offering sustainable seafood and local products to composting and repurposing materials.

"Metcalfe's was an early adopter of our Green Power Tomorrow program, voluntarily purchasing wind energy to power their business," said Randy Popp, MGE Senior Engineer. "The lighting project showcases their ongoing commitment to smart and sustainable business practices."

Is Shared Savings right for your business?

MGE business customers have financed more than 300 energy efficiency projects through the Shared Savings program. Learn more about how the MGE Shared Savings program can benefit your business. Call MGE at 252-7007 or email us at