LED Lighting Plan for a Retail Store Project in San Antonio

A store window display illuminated by an LED lighting system

Review a case study for a recent LED lighting project of ours

Operating as commercial electricians/electrical contractors in San Antonio, in Bexar County and neighboring cities, All Star Electric was consulted to draft an LED lighting plan for a 50,000 sq.ft. store project to be potentially built in downtown San Antonio.

Store layout

The store will be a high-end fashion outlet, with separate sections for men, women, teenagers, and children. The building is projected to have only one floor, with a floor-to-ceiling height of 50 ft, 4 entrance glass doors, and 16 floor-to-ceiling window displays on 2 sides. The other two sides will be blind, and feature safety exits and separate gender-specific bathrooms.

We have been consulted for the first phase of this project, as part of the architectural and merchandising studies. The following document provides a set of recommendations for the LED lighting layout of this high-end fashion store. The focus is on enhancing the shopping experience, highlighting merchandise, and ensuring safety and compliance with local codes.

Important: For reasons of confidentiality, no name or brand is mentioned in this document. This retail project may or may not see the light of the day. We republish here a version of our working document from which we removed essential technical data part of the original document that would risk identifying the parties or the full scope of the project. This document is for educational purposes only.

General recommendations

For a modern ambiance, LEDs with a color temperature of around 4000K-4500K are ideal. This neutral white light enhances the rendition of merchandise in true colors. To ensure uniform lighting throughout the store and avoid dark spots, a combination of general overhead lighting and targeted fixtures will be used.

  • Example 1: For general overhead lighting, consider recessed LED downlights spaced evenly across the ceiling.
    Example 2: For targeted fixtures, adjustable LED track lights can be used to focus on specific areas or displays.

We recommend dimmable LEDs to adjust the lighting levels during different times of the day or for special events. While the store has not published any specific sustainability goal at this stage, using LED technology will inherently generate energy savings. Opting for fixtures with Energy Star ratings ensures both energy efficiency and quality.

LED lighting for the men’s formal fashion department

Accent lighting will be used to highlight premium brands and merchandise. Track lighting systems offer flexibility in highlighting specific displays and can be adjusted as displays change.

  • Example 1: For suits, use pendant lights with a cooler temperature to give a sophisticated feel and make the colors pop.
    Example 2: For shoe displays, under-shelf lighting can be used to illuminate each pair and draw attention.

LED lighting for the women’s formal fashion department

The focus of the lighting will be on elegance and sophistication. Vertical LED strips will  illuminate shelves, especially for handbag areas, showcasing the products in a glamorous light.

  • Example 1: For evening gowns, we recommend using wall-mounted adjustable spotlights to create a dramatic shadow effect, emphasizing the texture and flow of the fabric.
    Example 2: For jewelry or accessory displays, we recommend using LED light boxes to backlight the items, making them sparkle and stand out.

LED lighting for the men’s casual fashion department

We suggest using a combination of overhead and pendant lights to create a relaxed ambiance. Adjustable spotlights would focus on specific merchandise, allowing for flexibility in highlighting different items.

  • Example 1: For casual shirts and polos, warmer lighting can emphasize the comfort and casual nature of the items.
    Example 2: For denim or trouser displays, side lighting can be used to highlight the cut and fit of the items.

LED lighting for the women’s casual fashion department

We suggest installing an LED lighting system that evokes a sense of comfort and ease. Spotlighting should be used for brand highlights, drawing attention to specific items or promotions.

  • Example 1: For summer dresses, we suggest using top-down lighting to emphasize the patterns and colors.
    Example 2: For casual footwear, under-shelf lighting will effectively showcase the variety and styles available.

LED lighting for the teenagers’ clothing department

We recommend using dynamic lighting elements, such as color-changing LEDs, to create a youthful and energetic vibe. Spotlighting will ensure brand highlights, emphasizing the latest trends.

  • Example 1: For graphic tees, backlighting will make the designs stand out and appear more vibrant.
    Example 2: For accessory areas, such as hats or sunglasses, rotating spotlights will add a dynamic element, making the display more engaging.

LED lighting for the children’s clothing department

We suggest opting for warmer lighting to create a cozy and welcoming children department. Warm lighting is best for expecting mothers shopping ahead of the happy event. Playful lighting fixtures that align with the theme of the section will add an element of fun.

  • Example 1: For toy or accessory displays, fairy lights can be intertwined among the products, adding a whimsical touch to the display shelves.
    Example 2: For themed clothing areas, such as superhero or princess sections, themed lighting projections will enhance the ambiance.

Special features & areas

High-intensity spotlights will draw attention to window displays from outside. Backlighting for mannequins will be used to create depth and interest. Entrances must be well-lit for safety and to create a welcoming atmosphere. Modern wall sconces and decorative fixtures will add aesthetic appeal.

  • Example 1: For a winter-themed window display, cool white LED spotlights mimic the feel of winter sunlight, enhancing the theme.
    Example 2: For entrances during festive seasons, LED strip lights in brand colors can be used to frame the entrance, making it more inviting.

Safety & compliance

We will ensure exits are well-lit and equipped with emergency backup lighting per San Antonio city codes. All main pathways and aisles must be consistently lit to prevent tripping hazards.

We recommend enhancing security by ensuring the perimeter of the store, especially around entrances, is well-lit. Contrary to current practices, we suggest clearly signaling the presence of security features such as cameras and alarms.

LED lighting operational recommendations

Due to durability concerns, we recommend opting for high-quality LED fixtures with a rated life of 50,000+ hours. This will reduce the frequency of replacements. Installing lighting controls or timers to adjust or turn off lights automatically outside of operational hours would reduce energy usage. 

At a later stage of the feasibility studies, we will draft a document describing how to ensure the LED lighting system integrates appropriately with the electrical panels of the store, with separate circuitry as specified.

Advantages of LED lighting in retail environments

All Star Electric is a staunch proponent of installing LED lighting systems in retail and office environments for a number of easy-to-recognize reasons. As commercial electricians in San Antonio, we have gained an acknowledged expertise in the design and installation of LED lighting systems that meet both code requirements and sustainability objectives. We warranty our work and labor. We also are fully licensed, bonded and insured.

  • LED lighting: A revolution in retail illumination: Post pandemic, retail stores are seeking innovative ways to enhance the shopping experience they offer to patrons. They also seek to highlight brand products to maximize revenue/customer and sales/sq.ft. One of the most transformative changes in recent years has been the shift towards LED lighting which offers much-needed benefits, from energy efficiency to higher unit sales. We will cover some of these benefits here.
  • Enhanced product display: The primary goal of a retail store is to showcase its products in the best possible light to increase sales per customer. LED lighting provides a clarity and color accuracy that traditional lighting solutions cannot match. This means that products, whether vibrant fashion items or intricate jewelry, are displayed in their true colors, making them more appealing to customers.
  • Energy efficiency and cost savings: LEDs have become synonyms for energy efficiency. Consuming up to 90% less power than incandescent bulbs, they offer substantial cost savings in the long run. For large retail spaces that require extensive lighting, a reduction in energy usage will translate into significant savings. Moreover, the longer lifespan of LEDs means fewer replacements, further reducing costs.At a time when store margins are squeezed by the rise in the supply chain costs and the increase in the cost of energy, LED lighting system offer a welcome relief to the bottom line of embattled retailers.
  • Creating the desired ambiance: LED lighting is extremely versatile, allowing retailers to craft a specific ambiance or mood from section to section in a store. Because LEDs project their light vertically, there is little lateral bleed: this enables store designers to juxtapose different lighting moods close to each other without risking unsightly overlaps or blending displays. Moreover, LEDs come with dimmable options and a range of color temperatures available: this gives retailers granular control over their lighting palette.
  • Environmental benefits: In today’s eco-conscious world, ESG scores are forcing businesses to seek means and methods of reducing their carbon footprint. LED lighting is a step in this direction: these systems reduce the demand on power plants and decrease greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, unlike some traditional lighting solutions, LEDs don’t contain harmful substances like mercury. These benefits are however somewhat offset by the lower recyclability index of LEDs compared with other traditional lighting systems. Experts expect that recycling technology will progress and make LEDs as recyclable as light bulbs and neon tubes.
  • Safety and durability: LED lights are solid-state lights, I.e. more rugged than traditional bulbs or neon tubes. They can withstand jarring and bumping. They also produce little-to-no heat, reducing the risk of fire hazards. This combination of durability and safety makes them well-suited for retail environments where lights often remain on for extended periods, and are exposed to shoppers’ hands and unexpected movements.
  • Flexibility in design: Because of their compact size and flexibility, LED lights and strips can be used in a variety of creative ways in a retail setting. From backlighting displays to under-shelf installations to hidden ceiling installation, store designers have long-acknowledged the possibilities LEDs open to them.

Contact us for retail lighting solutions

All Star Electric provides San Antonio and neighboring cities exceptional value through reliable electrical installation and repair services, high-quality electrical products, and affordable rates and prices. We service both homeowners and commercial operations. LED lighting system installation is one of our strong specialties!

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