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An Enlightening Experience at Loeb Electric

     Recent studies indicate that lighting has a significant effect on employees in the workplace. Lighting can affects mood, alertness, energy and productivity. Natural light has one of the most dramatic effects on employees. According to an abstract published by researchers at Northwestern University, workers who received more white light exposure during the day slept better at night that their co-workers who did not. And we all know that a well-rested employee is more productive and makes better decisions as a result.

     Lighting makes a significant impact in the retail industry as well. Well-thought-out lighting can help with a store image, highlight certain products and encourage targeted purchases. Good lighting can also improve the overall experience of almost any customer, no matter how finicky.

     But while corporate managers focus on their employees and their customers, significant thought must also be put into the cost-savings with new lighting strategies. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, traditional incandescent bulbs use a lot of energy to produce light and are no longer manufactured. Why? Ninety percent of the energy is given off as heat, and that lost energy is money being thrown out the window. “Newer energy-saving lightbulbs provide the choices in colors and light levels you've come to expect,” touts the U.S. Department of Energy on its website. “The new lights are also much more efficient -- so they save you money.”

     It’s an industry Loeb Electric understands, and took the time Feb. 8, 2017, to explain to about 35 Central Ohio IFMA Chapter members with a tour of their new corporate headquarters.

     Emily Kershaw of Loeb Electric agrees with the U.S. Department of Energy’s claims. “Everyone is tasked with this today – ways to save money, not necessarily just energy,” she told Central Ohio IFMA Chapter members as they settled in for their tour.

     Loeb Electric got its start in Downtown Columbus in 1912. Founded by Oscar Avery and Arthur Loeb as The Avery & Loeb Company, Loeb Electric is still family-owned and operated, managed by its president, Charles Loeb. Under his leadership, Loeb Electric has grown into one of the largest lighting and electrical distributors in the United States and is currently ranked in the Top 100 in the industry by The Electrical Distributor magazine.

   Operating with 140 employees and a fleet of 14 trucks serving Central Ohio, Loeb Electric is a supporter of the United States Green Building Council, and has membership in the City of Columbus’ Green Spot program, the USGBC Central Ohio Chapter, and is an Energy Star Partner.

     Currently located at 1800 East 5th Avenue, the company’s headquarters showcases some of the latest and the greatest in lighting technologies. The massive warehouse also stores and ships out to local and national customers, including Wal-Mart, Wendy’s, Walgreens, The Body Shop, Planet Fitness, and more. The company relocated in 2014 to its current location, a 1960s one-story building, totaling 250,000 square feet. The move allowed the company to consolidate its former four buildings into one location, but posed a number of challenges due to the age of the building, including the need for HVAC upgrades, roof repair, parking and paving upgrades, along with fencing, security, lighting and awning concerns.

     Of course, since lighting is their specialty, considerable thought was putting into upgrading systems. The building was originally designed for 223,410 of allowable watts (per code). But with the company’s redesign in 2014, Loeb was able to realize a 63 percent reduction in watts, resulting in a significant cost and energy savings. In addition, lighting controls added another 30 percent in energy savings. Those upgrades included granular level integrated controls on all office fixtures, individual occupancy sensors in all warehouse fixtures, room dimming and occupancy sensors in all private offices, and the installation of astronomical time clocks for all exterior lighting. The technology was able to realize a total $44,000 in savings annually.

     Some additional bragging rights:

  • Loeb Electric’s warehouse is designed using 66 percent less energy than allowed by code while still meeting IESNA’s light level recommendations

  • The office lighting was designed to use 33 percent less energy than code while achieving 60 percent more light than IESNA recommendations

  • Exterior lighting was designed to use 10 percent less energy than allowed by code while, again, meeting IESNA guidelines.

     

     These are the same forward-thinking strategies that have allowed them to save significant dollars and energy for their customers. For example, Loeb Electric worked with Wendy’s to upgrade its corporate campus to LED lighting and was able to save the company $2,884 a month (or $128,726 over five years). That’s an 82 percent energy cost savings with a 3.8 year payback rate.

     An outdoor upgrade project at the Ricart Mega Mall had an even bigger impact. With the installation of new LED lighting, the company was able to realize a 98 percent energy cost savings, equaling a total savings of $26,202 a month or $$3,144,274 over a five year period. The project enjoyed a two-year payback rate.

     As Central Ohio IFMA Chapter members toured the new corporate facility and warehouse, they were able to experience the different types of lighting upgrades and technologies managed and sold by Loeb Electric. Members began their tour with a briefing in one of the company’s conference rooms, then moved into the massive warehouse, ending in the very modern corporate offices.

   A simple happy-hour and networking opportunity rounded out the afternoon’s event.