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Las Vegas and Danvers, Mass. (May 12, 2010) – When most people think of Aspen Skiing Company, they think of impressive mountain terrain, great snow conditions, and a first class ski resort. Equally impressive is Aspen Skiing Company’s commitment to the environment and operational excellence. Accounting for up to 30 percent of the electricity used in commercial buildings in the U.S., the lighting systems throughout their operations were identified as a prime opportunity to achieve their sustainability goals and to reduce their operations costs. Matt Hamilton, sustainability manager, Hunter Webster, director of rental/retail operations, and Pia Halloran, senior buyer and merchandiser, selected the D&E Ski & Snowboard Shop location in downtown Aspen, as well as the Four Mountain Sports location at Aspen Highlands for evaluation and asked LEDVANCE to assist in creating a strategy that would improve the lighting quality, save energy, and boost the bottom line for their business.
Recognized by Snowsports Industries America (SIA) for their innovative marketing, and exemplary customer service, the stores in Aspen/Snowmass are known for continuing brand expansion that broadens their customer base and their ability to create specialty shops to meet diverse needs. Through time, actions to save energy and reduce heat load in the stores resulted in ambient light levels below 20 footcandles (fc) in most areas, a proliferation of lamp types, and dilution of the lighting design concept. Recommendations were made to address these issues in a way that would support the brand strategy and business objectives of Aspen’s rental/retail operations, while utilizing the most energy efficient technology available and minimizing the amount of luminaire replacements. It was imperative to utilize sources with excellent color rendering and beam control properties, standardized color temperatures and long life thereby saving manpower and time required to change lamps more frequently – and further contributing to Aspen Skiing Company’s sustainability goals.
With the new lighting, overall ambient light levels were increased 50-100 percent and additional accent lighting was applied to key merchandising areas to create contrast and draw the attention of customers. In the rental areas, low light levels made identifying equipment on the storage shelves difficult and slowed the technicians’ ability to perform the tasks associated with snow sport equipment rentals. Additional fluorescent luminaires were added in those areas to address those issues with extremely energy-efficient, glare-free light.
Situated directly across the street from Aspen Mountain, Four-Mountain Sports (including D&E Ski & Snowboard Shop) is a compact 2-story location with ski and snowboard rentals, as well as full lines of sporting goods and street wear. Existing fluorescent troffers provided ambient light with nearly all T12 fluorescent lamp varieties with low color rendering properties. These fixtures were changed to 28W OCTRON® SUPERSAVER® 800XP® T8 fluorescent lamps on QUICKTRONIC® High Efficiency electronic ballasts, standardizing lamp colors all to 3000K and 85 CRI.
Lamps used for accent lighting were a mix of incandescent and halogen. All PAR38 fixtures were lamped with 24W METALARC® POWERBALL® EL self-ballasted ceramic metal halide lamps, and all PAR20 fixtures were lamped with LEDVANCE’s exclusive energy-saving 40W CAPSYLITE® IR halogen lamps.
Overall, the number of different lamp types was cut from in half, and lamp color was standardized, greatly reducing the on-hand inventory of replacement lamps and providing a more sustainable lighting layout. The average life per lamp doubled from 8,000 hours to over 16,000 hours. The lighting power density (W/sf) in the store dropped by 42 percent, while more than doubling ambient light levels and highlighting key areas of merchandise.
Located at the base of Aspen Highlands mountain, the Four-Mountain Sports location consists of the main selling floor area, lit by recessed downlights and track-mounted accent lighting with two decorative pendants. With wood beams and display areas, the space has a very warm, alpine ambience. All fixtures used PAR38 halogen lamps in flood and spot beam spreads. Energy reduction strategies had brought lamp wattages over time, resulting in average ambient light levels of only 16 fc. Perimeter and display window areas were highlighted by MR16 and PAR20 halogen track fixtures.
All recessed downlights were relamped using SYLVANIA 16W LED PAR38 lamps and all track fixtures were changed to 24W PAR38 METALARC POWERBALL EL self-ballasted ceramic metal halide lamps. The exceptionally long life of each of these sources, 25,000 hours for the LED lamp and 12,000 hours for the ceramic metal halide lamp, guaranteed that changing lamps in this store would be a very rare occurrence. With a CRI of 87 and a strong red (high R9) component, the color quality of the LED PAR38 lamp complemented the rich wood décor well. Energy efficient DULUX® EL for Living Spaces™ compact fluorescent lamps replaced incandescent ones in the decorative pendants. Perimeter and display fixtures were converted to energy-saving halogen types: 50W TRU-AIM® IR MR16 and 40W CAPSYLITE® IR PAR20 lamps.
In the rental area, the downlights were replaced with surface-mounted fluorescent fixtures, which were much better suited at providing energy-efficient, diffuse light for this area. These luminaires were lamped with 36,000-hour OCTRON SUPERSAVER 800XP T8 fluorescent lamps operating on QUICKTRONIC High Efficiency electronic ballasts. Overall, the average life per lamp in the store nearly quadrupled.
The changes to the lighting system at Four-Mountain Sports were tremendous. The average ambient illuminance levels tripled, while the lighting load dropped by 37 percent. Illuminance levels in the rental area tripled, improving visibility and shaving 1-2 minutes off the rental transaction process. “Those minutes add up to a reduction in payroll, and the guest satisfaction. The guest spending less time in the rental shop, and getting out on the slopes faster to be able enjoy their vacation. It creates a happy customer,” said Hunter Webster.
Overall, energy savings of over 37 percent were achieved with the lighting renovation in both locations. Lighting quality was improved with better color rendering, higher light levels, and higher contrast ratios. The number of light sources was slashed, greatly simplifying the maintenance and purchasing process for the stores. With the much longer lamp lives, though, these events would not be very frequent. The most important testament to success, however, was the impact on Aspen Skiing Company’s business. Guest satisfaction and customer comments were extremely positive, and overall sales in these two locations increased by 12 percent over prior year.
"I was violently skeptical when we started this project with SYLVANIA. However I have SEEN THE LIGHT!! The two stores we retro-fitted are looking amazing! What is more amazing is these two locations are outperforming our other stores by 10 percent,” said Derek Johnson, managing director of Aspen Skiing Company’s Rental-Retail Division.
From Hunter Webster, director of rental/retail operations, Aspen Skiing Company:
"Before our lighting project with SYLVANIA, we thought our lighting was pretty good. We thought the merchandise was lit well, and our customer was able to navigate through the store without issue. The old lights were warm during the summer, but I swear we never turned the heat on during the winter.”
“After the completion of the SYLVANIA lighting project, we could really appreciate the merchandise in our store. Before the sales numbers were in, our regular customers noticed the difference. Guests’ comments included: “Everything looks crisper, did you remodel?” “Everything feels cleaner and warm” “I can find the clothing so much easier.” “It doesn’t feel cluttered anymore.”
“The lighting opened up the store while highlighting the merchandise. The bright colors of the ski & snowboard clothing jumped off the fixtures. It is easier to find the right size for a customer in the racks.”
“The Rental Techs adjusting the ski & snowboard bindings are loving the new lighting. The adjustment settings are easier to see without the shadows the old lighting cast. Selecting the proper size for the guest has become a breeze.”
“As far as the increase in sales, the numbers speak for themselves.”
Aspen Skiing Company operates the four mountains in the Aspen/Snowmass area - Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk - as well as the award-winning Ski & Snowboard Schools of Aspen/Snowmass. The area offers unparalleled nightlife and off-slope activities as well. Aspen/Snowmass is accessible by two of the most convenient airports in the mountains – Aspen/Pitkin County Airport (ASE) (3 miles from Aspen) and Eagle County Airport (EGE) (70 miles from Aspen). For more information on Aspen Skiing Company, please call 800-525-6200 or 970-925-1220, or visit the company’s website at www.aspensnowmass.com.
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