GE’s LED Replacement Lamps Make Diamonds and Savings Shine at Riddle’s Jewelry Stores

Riddle’s Jewelry, known for diamonds and exceptional customer service, is newly engaged to an efficient LED lighting solution from GE. The retailer is changing halogen bulbs in its 57 locations to GE’s LED replacement lamps, saving 20 to 25 percent in annual jewelry store lighting costs while bringing a new sparkle to its stunning selection of fine rings, pendants and gemstones.

Family-owned Riddle’s Jewelry opened its first store in Webster, South Dakota, in 1959. More than half a century and many stores later, Riddle’s still prides itself on offering a warm, friendly atmosphere in all of its locations across nine states. Lighting plays an especially important role at Riddle’s, from the subtle shimmer of precious stones to the setting of an elegant, inviting atmosphere.

Riddle’s has been amazed at how the bright, white LED lighting accentuates the natural brilliance of the diamonds.
Riddle’s has been amazed at how the bright, white LED lighting accentuates the natural brilliance of the diamonds.

“We began researching LED jewelry store lighting about five years ago and got really serious about two years ago when Dakota Supply Group introduced us to GE Lighting. After looking at a number of options, GE’s LED replacement lamps offered the best combination of energy savings and the best look for our merchandise once it’s out of the cases,” said Dan Casanova, vice president of Riddle’s.

Riddle’s Jewelry locations house between 80 and 210 spotlight fixtures, depending on store size. With the retrofit, the retailer is moving from 75-watt halogen lamps to GE’s 20-watt PAR38 LED replacement lamps, a product of GE ecomagination℠. Working with Dakota Supply Group, Riddle’s has installed GE’s LED replacement lamps in 47 stores and plans to complete the project in the next four months.

At locations that have used GE’s LED lamps for more than one year, Riddle’s has seen lighting energy cost savings between $100 and $150 a month in smaller stores (80-100 fixtures) and from $175 to $225 in larger stores (up to 210 fixtures), based on a $.10 per kWh rate and 4,000 hours of operation annually.

GE’s new LED lamps also produce less heat than the old halogen bulbs—store managers have reported a noticeable decrease in cooling demand on HVAC units.
GE’s new LED lamps also produce less heat than the old halogen bulbs—store managers have reported a noticeable decrease in cooling demand on HVAC units.

These savings are also the result of reduced loads on building cooling systems―each Riddle’s store, even those in colder climates, typically runs its air conditioning throughout the year because of the heat generated by in-store halogen lighting. GE’s new LED lamps stay much cooler than the halogen bulbs, and though Riddle’s has not yet recorded exact load reductions, store managers have reported a noticeable decrease in the cooling demand on HVAC units.

Once all 57 locations are complete, Riddle’s expects to save about $100,000 a year in lighting energy costs not including reduced maintenance as the result of longer-lived LED technology. The retailer also said it plans to specify GE’s LED lamps for all jewelry store lighting projects moving forward.

Beyond cost savings, Casanova has been impressed by how the new lamps make merchandise sparkle. “Store managers have been amazed the way the bright, white LED lighting accentuates the natural brilliance of the diamonds. With halogen, they looked good. With LED, they look amazing,” he added.

GE’s LED replacement lamps will save Riddle’s between 20-25 percent in jewelry store lighting energy costs a year.
GE’s LED replacement lamps will save Riddle’s between 20-25 percent in jewelry store lighting energy costs a year.

ROI that Dazzles

GE Lighting and Dakota Supply assisted Riddle’s in analyzing rebate opportunities from local utilities for each store, then applying for the rebates as rollouts occurred. At its Rapid City, South Dakota, store, Riddle’s received a rebate of $11.25 per lamp. At another in Minnesota, Xcel Energy provided a rebate of $27 per lamp.

“We operate in markets that have fairly low energy costs, but the return on investment is still good. With rebates, we expect a 14-month ROI per store. In markets with no rebates, payback becomes 20 to 22 months, which is still a good return,” said Casanova.

Riddle’s is also retrofitting parabolic lenses in store walkways, moving from 32-watt fluorescent lamps to GE’s 25-watt T8 lamps. And based on the success Riddle’s has achieved to date, the retailer is considering switching from fluorescent to LED lighting in its display cases as well.

GE and Dakota Supply Group helped Riddle’s earn lighting rebates of $11.25 and $27 per lamp at some stores.
GE and Dakota Supply Group helped Riddle’s earn lighting rebates of $11.25 and $27 per lamp at some stores.
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