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Lynnwood Honda LED Lighting Upgrades Case Study

Dealership upgrades to LED lighting for improved product visibility, security, and lower energy costs

Project Background & Scope

Conservation and energy savings are important to
Erik Nelson, president of Lynnwood Honda. At 
the same time, high-quality lighting is critical
to showing their products on the lot, even though
it uses a substantial amount of energy. After 
seeing LED lighting at another car dealer’s lot,
Nelson became interested in learning how LED 
lighting might provide energy cost savings and 
high quality lighting for his facility.

Nelson started with online research and a call
to the Lighting Design Lab (LDL) in Seattle. The
LDL referred him to their LED Qualifying Products
List and the DesignLights Consortium (DLC) 
Qualified Products List to find products tested to
perform at specified levels. During his research,
he identified numerous benefits of LED lighting. 
He read how light trespass and skyglow issues are
affecting exterior business lighting in many areas
and how LED lighting can make those issues easier
to address because of their directionality and less
intense light. Nelson calculated that the anticipated
reduction in maintenance due to the long lamp life 
and five-year warranty would save about $4,000 each
fall when he normally re-lamped the metal halide 
system. He talked with his utility, Snohomish PUD, 
and found he could get a grant from them to help 
pay for the project.

From his online research, Nelson had narrowed his
choices to either a retrofit product that would be
installed in the housing of the existing fixtures
or a new luminaire. Having learned about the 
importance of thermal management to maintain the
longevity and light output of LED sources, he was
not convinced that the retrofit product adequately
addressed this issue. He selected the new LED
luminaire, the Sansi CO820 series of fixtures.

Lynnwood Honda

He selected new LED luminaires of 239W and 110W
to replace the existing 1000 W and 400 W metal 
halide lighting. In addition to the main show 
lot lighting, the dealership also used some 40W
LED wallpacks and two building flood lights of
70W, and two 120W area lights, also Sansi 


Nelson is very excited about the results he is
seeing from this project. The lighting upgrade
was made in early January 2013 and was completed
in time to use during a week-long period of dense
fog. Although he had heard that LED lighting did
not penetrate fog well, he thought the LEDs 
performed better than the metal halides performed
under the same conditions. Even though the utility representative believes there was about a 30% 
reduction in average light level, the owner says
the new LED lighting definitely makes the area
seem brighter and enhances the appearance of the
vehicles on the show lot. Employees, neighbors and

another car dealer have noticed these improvements
and responded with favorable comments and questions.

It is too early to calculate the actual energy 
savings because the lights have been in operation
for only a short time, including the unusually foggy
conditions in January, when the lights were turned on
for more hours than usual. Despite these conditions,
Nelson expects the savings to be substantial.

The high cost would have been a barrier to the 
project, but a grant from the utility reduced this
barrier. Nelson says the payback will be just under
five years for the installation, and estimated 
savings will be $17,000 -18,000 per year in energy

Lessons Learned

Nelson’s advice to other potential purchasers of
LED lighting is to do a lot of research on the 
product you are interested in and the company 
selling it.

Additional Resources

• LED Qualifying Products List:  
• DesignLights Consortium® (DLC) Qualified 
  Products List(QPL):http://www.designlights.org
• Utility: Snohomish PUD

Sansi Cobrahead LED Lighting

Area Lighting(Left)/Wallpack Lighting(Right)

Considerations for Purchase

Before purchasing LED lighting:

• Understand warranty coverage and length.Coverage
  might include various components, field repair,
  shipping and labor, over 5 to 10 years. Warranty
  eligibility may require multiple LEDs to fail
  before replacement.
• Install a sample before committing to a purchase.
• Check your local utility for available incentives.
• Engage a professional to provide lighting thatmeets
  your needs, complies with energy code, andis
  compliant with utility incentive requirements.

Most utility incentives for LED lights use a 
qualified list:

• For light bulbs, look for ENERGY STAR products:
• For commercial light fixtures, refer to Design
  LightsConsortium qualified product lists:

Additional questions to ask are listed at this U.S.
Department of Energy website: http://www.eere.energy