What do bikes, brownies and boats all have in common? Businesses in each of those fields have made the switch to energy-efficient LED lighting and are reaping the benefits.

At Grand Central Baking Co., the aroma of fresh baked bread, the buzz of conversation and the heat of ovens last all day. But incandescent lights were making it even hotter.

Grand Central Baking Co. replaced older incandescent bulbs with LEDs in their seven locations. The new LEDs produce significantly less heat, reducing unnecessary strain on the air conditioning system, making for brighter and more comfortable spaces, improved dining experiences, and reduced energy use and costs.

According to Energy Star, LEDs can last 25 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs, so businesses that install LEDs can also reduce labor costs associated with replacing lamps that burn out. That’s exactly why CyclePath, a high-end shop in NE Portland that sells, builds and repairs bikes for cycling enthusiasts, invested in new LED lighting throughout the store.

“Our former lighting was costly and didn’t last long,” said Mitch Lomacz, a Cyclepath store employee charged with managing the upgrade. “In an average year, we’d end up replacing every bulb in the store. Plus, the poor quality light didn’t really showcase the bikes to their best advantage.”

It’s not just small retail shops that have upgraded to LED lighting. Vigor Industrial, a shipbuilder and industrial service provider, upgraded more than 1,200 light fixtures of all shapes and sizes on high masts, poles, cranes, dry docks and more.

With around-the-clock ship building and repair operations, safety was as important as cost-savings. The new LEDs create brighter, safer conditions at night for employees. LEDs can cut lighting energy costs by up to 75 percent. Vigor estimates annual savings of $158,000, and nearly 1,000 tons of carbon emissions reduced.

Energy Trust of Oregon provides cash incentives and technical assistance to businesses that upgrade their lighting systems.

“Just last year, the number of LED lights installed by our customers tripled. This trend is likely to continue as more customers see the benefits,” said Peter West, director of energy programs at Energy Trust of Oregon. “LEDs work well for all types of businesses like retail and hospitality, high-bay fixtures in warehouses, lighting for refrigerated spaces, car dealerships and more.”

SOURCE: PORTLAND BUSINESSS JOURNAL