Food Bank Banks 48% Energy Savings

Cree, a food-bank neighbor, provided a lighting solution for a 69,000-sq.-ft. warehouse space and a 25,000-sq.-ft. office.

When the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina undertook the renovation of its new Raleigh location, it wanted it to be a community project. Cree, a neighbor, stepped up with an “awesome” lighting solution.

When the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina undertook the renovation of its new Raleigh location, it wanted it to be a community project. Cree, a neighbor, stepped up with an “awesome” lighting solution.

It’s always been about partnership for the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. So when it came time to expand operations in its hub city of Raleigh, leadership was keen on making it a community effort.

Among those the food bank reached out to was Durham-based Cree, less than 20 miles down the road.

“Cree stepped up to the plate and did a fabulous job of lighting this facility,” said Charley Hale, the food-bank’s vice president of it and operations. “It’s just awesome.”

Cree, a supplier of LED solid-state lighting components, provided a solution for a 69,000-sq.-ft. warehouse space and a 25,000-sq.-ft. office. The new facility not only affords the food bank expanded storage space but additional room for thousands of hours of increased volunteer time, allowing it to get more food out to neighbors more quickly and safely.

As the food bank said in a statement to the community: “The Raleigh distribution center represents a vibrant community of donors, volunteers, and those who dedicate their lives to hunger relief.”

The Cree LED solution includes 143 of its CXB high-bay luminaires, 400 ZR24 troffers, and 36 KR6 downlights.

The Cree CXB high-bay series offers a color rendering index of 80-plus and efficiency of 113 lumens/W, thus lowering operating costs. The ZR24 troffers, powered by Cree TrueWhite technology, provide as much as 5,000 lumens of 90 CRI light. The KR6 downlights, also powered by TrueWhite technology, deliver light with efficacy as much as 76 lumens/W.

Hale says the installation of the LEDs went very well. “It was a simple process. The lights were brought in, and the place was lit up within a couple of days.”

What a difference, by all accounts, the LEDs have made.

The new facility not only affords the food bank expanded storage space but additional room for thousands of hours of increased volunteer time.

The new facility not only affords the food bank expanded storage space but additional room for thousands of hours of increased volunteer time.

“Every time our senior manager for food safety and warehouse compliance walks in here,” Hale attested, “he says, ‘Man, this lighting is great.’”

Jessica Whichard, the food bank’s senior manager of communications, says her team is already taking advantage of the superior lighting to herald the new facility throughout the community.

“We’ve been shooting quite a few videos,” Whichard explained, “and the production teams have been really impressed with the lighting. The facility looks just phenomenal in the videos. This new lighting has allowed us to get our story out to the community in a much brighter fashion that we otherwise could have.”

Whichard adds that the food bank’s graphic designer has also taken full advantage of the new look by experimenting with paint colors and decals that are accentuated by the lighting. Those then make for interesting backdrops for volunteers to take pictures of their experience at the food bank to share on social media

“That’s something we couldn’t do before,” Whichard said. “It’s allowed us to enhance our social media presence with quality images. It gives a great sense of who the food bank is.”

The LEDs also provide an enhanced workspace for the volunteers who repackage and sort food items. “Coming here is a fun team-building activity for companies,” Hale said. “But at the same time, they’re working, and you’ve got to have good lighting to do it correctly. After all, we’re talking about food safety. Now when they’re reading a label, they don’t have to shine their cell phone flashlights on it.”

Another strong consideration in the renovation was energy savings “Obviously, we wanted to be as frugal as possible with the community’s donations,” Hale stated, and Cree has helped deliver in that regard. It’s estimated that the food bank will be saving 48% in energy costs compared to the previous traditional lighting. Meanwhile, it’s earning incentives from its utility company.

Ultimately, Hale said, “This lighting solution was an opportunity to install something that is not only more energy efficient but avoids maintenance issues. These lights will last quite a long time before anything at all needs to be done to them. They pay for themselves very quickly, and you’re trouble free for years to come.”

That’s a testament to a solid community investment.


datacache— Download a CXB spec sheet

— Download a ZR24 troffer spec sheet

— Download a KR6 downlight spec sheet

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