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Wal-Mart and GE partner on LED innovation for retailers

Wal-Mart Stores said it’s serious about reducing energy costs with LED ceiling lighting fixtures engineered by its supplier partner GE. The retailer announced Thursday (April 10) it plans to use the new fixtures in its new U.S. supercenters, and in stores across Asia, Latin America and in the United Kingdom.

The new fixtures will use 40% less energy than lighting sources historically used in stores, and will help further the retailer’s goal to reduce the kilowatt hour (kWh) per square foot of energy required to power Wal-Mart’s buildings globally 20% by 2020.

Wal-Mart said this is its largest purchase to date of LED lighting from GE and another example of partnership innovation.

“We have worked to find and scale energy-efficient LED lighting solutions that are cost effective and high quality, and now working with GE, we’re paving the way to make this a mainstream solution for the retail industry,” said CEO Doug McMillon. “LEDs have become an integral part of our energy efficiency model for our stores and play a key role in achieving our overall sustainability goals.”

With the main sales floor lighting representing approximately 90% of the total lighting usage in each building, this implementation will reduce energy use per store by more than 5% in the U.S. alone. The lights have a longer life span than traditional lighting fixtures and also offer significant savings in maintenance costs.

Installation of the new GE LED ceiling lighting will kick off this month at Asda, Wal-Mart’s business in the U.K. In 2014 alone, Walmart and GE project overall new stores and lighting energy savings compared to prior lighting fixtures to total as follows:

Brazil: 30 store remodels; 41% energy savings
Central America: 10 new stores; 56% energy savings
China: 24 new stores, 16 store remodels; 42% energy savings
Mexico: 37 new stores; 45% energy savings
U.K.: 10 new stores; 48% energy savings
U.S.: 30 new stores; 15% energy savings

“We’ve had a long and successful relationship with Wal-Mart, increasing our environmental efforts together,” said Jeff Immelt, GE Chairman and CEO. “A leader in seeking energy efficiency in the retail industry, Walmart’s energy-conscious focus allows the company to attain a substantial cost savings in electricity.”

The move to LED ceiling lighting in the U.S. should save each store more than $34,000, according to the release.

Wal-Mart said over 10 years this energy investment will eliminate 327,360 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions — or the annual greenhouse gas emissions from more than 68,000 passenger vehicles or the energy use of nearly 30,000 American homes for one year.

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The retailer said it tested the LED program in Ohio in the fall of 2013 to determine the return on investment.

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