Hiker’s Haven, a division of Europe Bound, started out as a one-stop-shop catering to the outdoor enthusiast and traveller. Originally founded over 30 years ago, the store has become something of an institution in the city of Oakville, and provides residents of southern Ontario with everything they need for their outdoor pursuits.
With a loyal customer base, a visible location off the QEW and a great staff operating the store, the business was running smoothly with the exception of one pain point: its aging lighting. Through LED bulb upgrades, Hiker’s Haven was able to save energy and significantly reduce its annual energy-related costs. What’s more, the store’s use of LED lighting not only produced significant energy savings, but also allowed it to showcase its products to their very best, on dark and gloomy days.
After being approached by a local lighting company, Lisa Raftis, store manager at Hiker’s Haven, was given a detailed assessment outlining the improved operational efficiencies, reduced energy consumption, and cost savings Hiker’s Haven could expect if they installed LED lighting upgrades. With their original lighting, staff found themselves regularly replacing light bulbs, and also found that the light emitted was too weak to effectively showcase the items sold at the store.
So, in an effort to save employee time spent replacing bulbs and improve their customers’ shopping experience, Hiker’s Haven made the decision to replace their existing halogen lamps with LED bulbs, using incentives made possible through the Save on Energy Retrofit program. The store also expected to benefit from additional energy savings, not only because the bulbs would not need to be replaced as often as halogen lamps, but also because the building’s temperature would no longer need to be adjusted to compensate for the additional heat the inefficient lighting produced.
With a view to reducing energy costs and improving the lifespan of its lighting fixtures, the store hired a local lighting contractor to upgrade its outdated lighting system with a more energy-efficient solution. The store and its parent company, Europe Bound, strive to take advantage of environmentally sustainable solutions where possible. “The reasons we went ahead with the retrofit were mainly environmental—we wanted to save energy,” says Joe Raftis, founder and CEO of Europe Bound, “and obviously the estimated cost savings that came with it were a big benefit for us. It was a win-win situation — we were able to help the environment while saving money.”
Hiker’s Haven learned that financial incentives were available through its local hydro company, Oakville Hydro, for upgrading to more energy-efficient products. Once a thorough lighting audit was performed, Faraday Lighting handled Hiker’s Haven’s incentive application to Oakville Hydro on the company’s behalf to help with the costs associated with the LED lighting upgrade. This made the whole process even simpler for the store’s management team.
As part of the retrofit, over 100 LED PAR 38 spotlights were installed throughout the store without needing to change the existing light fixtures, meaning that there was no need for an electrician to fit the new bulbs. “Our lighting contractor gave us all the lights and my staff actually installed the new bulbs ourselves,” explains Lisa. “It was so simple to do. We did it throughout the course of one day, during work hours, in between serving customers.”
With the total project cost coming in at just over $5,000, the store received $2,700 in incentives for the retrofit, which will save approximately 7.4 kW of demand and more than 27,000 kWh annually. This translates to more than $3,000 in electricity cost savings each year.
With the positive feedback they received from staff and customers, Hiker’s Haven is confident in its lighting choice. “What I’ve found is that the new lighting makes us want to keep the store cleaner, brighter and make it even better,” says Lisa. “We started with some paint, and then we did the lighting, and people — including customers — were commenting on how much better it looks, so now it’s encouraged us to keep improving it. The subsequent changes we’ve made at the store have largely been due to the new lighting.”
And because the overall look of the store after the upgrades was so much more inviting, Joe decided to roll out LED lighting upgrades across his three other Europe Bound locations. “The whole store just had a much brighter atmosphere, so we were keen to replicate this across all our other stores after we saw the difference it made at Hiker’s Haven,” he explains. “The projected cost savings were as promising as those at Hiker’s Haven, so it was a no-brainer to install LEDs at our other locations as well.”