Starbucks is Saving Millions in Energy Costs by Switching to LED Lighting

Going green — By Stephanie on December 28, 2010 at 6:11 am
860834393 5e33412514 Starbucks is Saving Millions in Energy Costs by Switching to LED Lighting

LED lighting is standard at Starbucks stores in the U.S. and Canada

In a classic example of how small changes can add up to a big difference, Starbucks Coffee Company can expect to save millions of dollars in operational costs by switching to LED lighting in 7,000 of its stores in Canada and the United States.  With Starbucks replacing the incandescent and halogen light bulbs in its North American stores, it expects to slash its energy consumption from lighting by 80 percent!

This is yet more green news from Starbucks recently!  As noted in a post at, the calculations add up as follows:

  • Each 1,000 square foot store will save $600 a year in electricity bills (that’s $600 times 7,000 stores)
  • Replacing the lightbulbs with LED lighting will save enough energy to reduce CO2 emissions by 10 barrels of oil – per store!
  • The total energy consumption of each Starbucks store is reduced by 7% as a result of the new LED lighting

Starbucks installed LED lights throughout its stores’ sitting and beverage areas.  In the rest of the store (bathrooms, storage rooms, etc.), incandescent bulbs were replaced with CFL lights.

But just how many Starbucks executives does it take to change a light bulb?  Why is this such a big deal?

To start with, Starbucks prides itself on its inviting atmosphere, of which lighting is a key element.  Energy-hogging incandescent bulbs give off a soft glow, and Starbucks – while wanting to go green – didn’t want headlights scaring off loyal customers.  So Starbucks partnered with General Electric to create an energy efficient light bulb that gave a soft glow, put out ample light, sipped electricity and could also fit existing lighting fixtures.

Sounds like a tall order, doesn’t it?  But the GE-Starbucks partnership is working out as smoothly as a caramel latte.  According to Jim Hanna, Director of Environmental Impact for Starbucks:

“The GE partnership reduces the risk of new technology should issues surface.”

While Starbucks is saving millions in energy costs by switching to LED lighting, it is also illuminating the way for other corporations to incorporate relatively small, yet high impact energy saving measures.

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  1. Commercial applications are trickling down to residential lighing. I’ve bought a few LEDs for my house, mostly floodlights. I’m waiting for the price to drop for bulb replacements. I learned a lot about LEDs here:

  2. seth says:

    I just saw another interesting LED energy saving initiative. Target installed motion sensors in their refrigerated and freezer sections for food. The lights in the refrigerators are off, until a customer walks by. While this probably doesn’t save much money during the day, it probably assures that the lights in the freezers and refrigerators are shut off at night.

    I only noticed this because it was slow in the store, and as I walked by the frozen food section, the led lights in their freezers turned on.

    Pretty cool.

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