SPARkling LED lighting

The SPAR retail chain in Austria is taking a leading role in sustainable retail premises. In October this year they opened two climate protection supermarkets with the “special offer” of impressive energy efficiency. And when it came to specifying the lighting, the Austrian company would not compromise on quality. The lighting planners were tasked to achieve maximum energy efficiency. The result is a lighting concept in which only LED light sources are used. Tridonic supplied the relevant LED components.

SPAR is serious about climate protection. Thanks to a comprehensive series of measures the energy consumption of the two SPAR climate protection supermarkets has been reduced by 50 %, which is excellent news for the climate. In future, each branch will be saving between 50 and 80 tonnes of CO2. ÖGNI (the Austrian Society for Sustainable Property) certified the passive house type supermarkets as the first such retail premises and gave the project their Gold award.

Every last detail

To receive this internationally renowned award a comprehensive concept had to be presented and implemented. Every last detail was fine-tuned. A modern bread oven in Murau saves 50 % energy and a bottle return machine saves 20 % energy compared with the usual alternatives. And even the POS system is more energy efficient thanks to a few adjustments. But the star of the show is the lighting system. The branches are lit exclusively with LED light. The entire background lighting, the lighting in ancillary rooms, the security lighting, all the shelf lighting, the outdoor lighting and the signage now feature this pioneering technology. Compared with a conventional lighting system with T5 fluorescent lamps and HID luminaires, the LED concept offers potential energy savings of 40 %. Gerald Geiger, Head of Construction, Energy & Technology at SPAR Austria is proud of this achievement. “Together with our partners we have demonstrated that the best possible light for our customers and maximum efficiency for sustainable and climate-friendly operation are no longer mutually exclusive.”

First impressions

It is not only the climate values of the building that are impressive, so too is the architecture – a clear signal that it is possible to live in harmony with the environment. The classic Vienna branch seems to grow out of a hill. Its flat roof is completely greened over in the summer, inviting shoppers to rest a while there. In the winter it changes into a toboggan run. The SPAR branch has established itself as a local meeting place and promotes sustainability among its customers with an charging station for electric bikes.

The first impression given by the supermarket in Murau is one of natural materials. The façade consists of stone and wood and blends perfectly in the landscape. The choice of construction materials alone accounts for further savings of 300 tonnes of CO2. The LED modules installed under the canopy makes the SPAR branch an inviting place to shop in the evening.

The lighting concept in detail

Previous projects have given SPAR extensive experience with LEDs for chiler cabinet lighting. Enormous savings can be made in conjunction with an intelligent concept for the refrigeration systems. SPAR uses a central integrated heating, air conditioning and refrigeration solution to ensure that all the equipment is properly supplied. The complete TALEXXengine FREEZE LED solution from Tridonic is used in the self-service freezer cabinets in Murau and in Vienna. LEDs are also used at the service counter. “Fresh produce is a real eye-catcher when illuminated by LED light. It looks so appetising!”, said Mario Maier, Project Manager at Tridonic. The counter staff can serve customers in pleasant bright surroundings. The complete LED solution was developed by Tridonic specifically for chiller and deepfreeze applications. At low ambient temperatures it achieves high luminous efficacy. Thanks to the very low thermal output of LED light sources less energy is needed to keep refrigeration units at their operating temperatures.

Depending on the type of produce, the lighting designers made use of different high-quality light colours to emphasise the freshness of the produce. The “cool meat” light colour is ideal for illuminating the vast selection of fresh and cooked meats at the service counter and on the shelving. Bakery products look wonderful in oven-fresh “Gold”. The predefined colour spectrum of the LEDs replaces conventional filters and therefore improves the efficiency of the luminaires. LEDs also provide a constant light colour throughout their lives.

Focus on the product

Multi-functional support rails equipped with high-power LED spotlights are used to focus attention on the shelves and the products. With a maintenance-free life of 50,000 hours at 70 % luminous flux the TALEXXmodule SPOT P350 LED modules from Tridonic are an energy-efficient replacement for conventional high-intensity discharge lamps. At the same time they provide a uniform appearance. Mario Maier added: “The LED modules in warm white and neutral white offer the best possible illumination. This in turn makes shopping at SPAR an enjoyable experience.” Seasonal displays call for a flexible lighting system. The tilt-and-swivel spotlights can be easily adjusted to suit the different presentations.

The right background

A new approach was adopted for selecting the light sources for the background lighting. For the first time the strip lighting system was equipped with LEDs. With an efficiency of up to 95 %, TALEXXconverter LCAI 0080 one4all units from Tridonic ensure that the LED modules are controlled with exceptional levels of energy efficiency. Compared with fluorescent tubes, the directional LED light needs up to 35 % less energy per unit to supply the same illuminance on the shelves.

SPAR also requested uniform illumination for its supermarkets. Here too, SPAR has benefited from the unique properties of LED technology. The light is of very high quality, contains no IR or UV components, is ideal for illuminating sensitive produce and meets vertical and horizontal illuminance requirements. But the strip lighting system also takes account of the fact that shopping is an experience that speaks to the senses. The continuous narrow strips have no dark zones at the ends of the individual luminaires to interrupt the view down the supermarket aisles. Square LED luminaires illuminate the POS areas. Positioned at the ends of the aisles, they direct customers towards the check-out.

The LED backlighting for the famous red lettering of the SPAR logo rounds off the lighting concept. “The LED chains from Tridonic are so reliable that our logo has a perfect appearance at all times”, said a very pleased Gerald Geiger. And the logo is clearly visible for miles around not only at the two climate protection supermarkets but also at the SPAR headquarters thanks to LED technology from Tridonic. Mario Maier sees this as more than just advertising signage: “For us it is highly symbolic. Signage as one of the first applications for LEDs. Today, the entire supermarket radiates with high quality LED light, signifying a paradigm change in the lighting industry.”

The future

SPAR’s pioneering commitment does not end with these two pilot projects. The technologies are now being tested for their suitability for everyday use and preparations are being made for rolling out the concept throughout Austria. For SPAR, actions speak louder than words. “In every renovation or new construction project in future there will be energy savings of at least 30%”, added Gerald Geiger.