PROVIGO SEES RELAMPING CUTTING COSTS

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. -- A relamping program involving energy-efficient bulbs and a computerized monitoring system at Provigo here is expected to save the retailer $1 million annually.The 17-store rollout to Petrini Markets and Cost Less Foods stores, which are owned by Provigo, is to be completed next week. Provigo officials said another of its chains, 10-unit New Deal Supermarkets here, may also be

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. -- A relamping program involving energy-efficient bulbs and a computerized monitoring system at Provigo here is expected to save the retailer $1 million annually.

The 17-store rollout to Petrini Markets and Cost Less Foods stores, which are owned by Provigo, is to be completed next week. Provigo officials said another of its chains, 10-unit New Deal Supermarkets here, may also be relamped after the rollout is evaluated.

Provigo hopes to duplicate on a wider scale the results of a pilot relamping that saved a Petrini store $35,694 in energy costs over the course of one year and earned a rebate of about $23,400 from its utility company.

Based on those initial results, Gene Wetmore, director of store development at Provigo, estimated

the program will pay for itself in 13 to 18 months.

Wetmore said Provigo initiated the relamping effort to improve store lighting environments and reduce energy use while earning sizable utility company rebates.

"We were motivated by the rebate program, and secondly we've been studying the concept of a proper lighting environment for shoppers," he said. "There are particular temperatures and light spectrums of bulbs more conducive to creating a more pleasant atmosphere.

"After the study we determined we wanted to move to those bulbs, and at the same time we had a lot of antiquated fixtures," Wetmore said. "We saw we could save a tremendous amount of energy."

At the Petrini pilot store in Burlingame, Calif., 400-watt metal halide lamps in the grocery area were replaced with 40-watt compact fluorescent lamps. These new lamps reduced energy consumption by 65%, Wetmore said.

In addition, cool white fluorescent lamps in the store's produce area were replaced with 32-watt T-8 bulbs and energy-efficient ballasts, which reduced consumption by 80 watts per fixture while raising the lighting level 100%.

Relamping reduced the store's annual energy consumption by more than 400,000 kilowatt hours and also qualified the retailer for the rebate from the Pacific Gas & Electric Co., he said.

Provigo commissioned an outside consulting firm, En-Tech International, Auburn, Calif., to find energy-efficient lamps that would create a better visual environment.

The company also installed a computerized energy management control system that automatically cuts lamp power to 40% when a store is closed.