A Retailer’s Experience

By Michael Di Sciascio

At Strapper Surf we have had a plan for the last few years to try and lower the environmental impact of our surf shops and have been looking at all sorts of ways to do this. The only criteria I have is that it needs to be commercially viable, so rather than aspiring to do things we have focused on what we can do. We have made a lot of changes, both small and large, that have all made a difference and have either been at no cost or actually saved us money. The electricity usage across our stores is really high and, as we all know, the cost of electricity has been going up and up over recent years. It’s also the one area we can directly measure our environmental impact from the carbon output caused by the power we use.

For over five years I have looked at LED lighting options, but there were always issues around the cost, the quality of the fittings and also the actual performance of the light generated.  Fortunately in recent years, this has all changed.

The cost of fittings has come down, the quality of the fittings as well as the fitting options has improved and the light generated is great and part of the new look of retail today. We have retrofitted two of our surf shops and have a third one about to happen. As well we have just done a store refit of our Blunt Skate shop and a new Strapper surf shop all with 100% LED lights. The results have been fantastic.

I am expecting to recoup the cost of retrofitting my surf shops to LED lights with big reductions in my electricity bills and I estimate it will take just over a year! The savings are substantial and for three shops alone is in the order of a $25-30,000 reduction in electricity costs in year one. There will also be a massive reduction in carbon pollution plus no maintenance/globe replacement costs. In addition as the heat generated by the fittings is way less than the previous lighting, the effectiveness of the air-conditioning has increased and also the costs to run that. Even issues around having staff replace globes or having to call in costly sparkies to replace globes have either gone or reduced to close to zero. It’s the biggest thing we have been able to do to reduce our carbon footprint and we have saved money doing it.

It’s been dubbed by some as the LED lighting revolution and I think they are right.

 * Michael Di Sciascio is owner of Strapper Surf and Blunt Skate store.