Daylighting and Sales: How Experiments in Daylighting Have Helped Retailers

Daylighting and SalesIn the early days of energy efficiency, businesses were primarily drawn to natural daylighting solutions for their effect on energy spending. With savings of up to 80 percent achievable, the investment in daylighting made perfect sense.

Over time, however, a large number of businesses have discovered another benefit of daylighting: increased sales. From the big-box stores of Wal-Mart to the natural, health-focus aisles of Whole Foods, thousands of businesses have experienced the incredible effects that daylighting can have on their sales.

Read on as we look at two businesses – the Pacific Gas and Electric Company, and legendary retailer Wal-Mart – to learn about how daylightinghas helped them to dramatically increase their retail sales.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company: 40 Percent Increase in Sales

In 1999, Pacific Gas & Electric Company commissioned a study of its stores to look at the relationship between skylights and sales. The study looked at 108 Pacific Gas and Electric Company retail stores – one third of which were lit using skylights.

The study revealed an interesting figure regarding sales between the two different types of lighting – one that could only be attributed to natural light. Stores lit using natural light had 40 percent higher average sales than those with artificial lights.

After controlling the study for variables, Pacific Gas and Electric Company were left with a confirmed and proven fact: stores that are lit naturally simply sell more than stores that are lit using unhealthy, expensive artificial lighting.

Wal-Mart: Over 2,000 Naturally Lit Supercenters

The United States’ most well-known retail chain knows sales well. With 8,970 stores around the world, it certainly needs to. A 1995 piece in the Wall Street Journal took a look at Wal-Mart’s at-the-time unique sales strategy: using natural light inside its ‘supercenter’ retail stores.

In the article, the multi-billion dollar company explained that it had experienced an incredible surge in sales after installing a daylighting system in one its stores based in Lawrence, Kansas. Store employees found that products stored in areas that were naturally lit sold in greater numbers than their counterparts in artificially lit areas.

To verify the test, employees switched the products. The results were the same – the products stored under natural sunlight sold in greater quantities. Since its Lawrence experiment in natural lighting proved such a success, Wal-Mart has built every new supercenter to use sunlight for as much of its interior lighting as possible.

Daylighting: Easy to Implement, Immediate Results

Both of the companies profiled above noticed that daylighting produced results that weren’t just impressive, but immediate. In Wal-Mart’s experiment, products sold in higher numbers immediately after being moved into a section of the store lit using natural light.

As one of the easiest forms of energy-efficient design to implement, daylighting is an excellent choice for retail businesses interested in reducing their energy spending as well as increasing sales. With two excellent benefits – raising income and lowering a major cost – every type of retail business should consider the value of daylighting.

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