LED lamps light the way to energy savings at Talley’s

The future is bright for Talley’s Ashburton, following the installation of energy-efficient LED bulbs in one of its cold stores that halved lighting energy use and sharply cut maintenance costs.
A trial investment of $32,500 has saved the frozen food exporter 120,000 kWh per year ($13,220) plus over $2,000 a year in maintenance costs.


Talley’s Group, which has an annual energy bill of around $8 million, has embarked on a nationwide energy-saving mission with energy management experts, Emsol, that has had cumulative savings of $850,000. One of the recommendations made by Emsol was to look at replacing fluorescent and halide lamps with energy efficient LEDs. The Ashburton site took up the challenge to trial LEDs in one of its cold stores to see how much energy and money could be saved.

Fluorescent, sodium and halide were the main types of lamp Talley’s was looking to replace. While these lamps are already some of the more efficient products available, Talley’s was keen to investigate LED technologies, which are overtaking the competition in energy efficiency.

The trial in the Ashburton site’s cold store aimed to provide a snapshot of potential savings for the company’s many sites across New Zealand, but Talley’s was understandably cautious to commit to a large-scale take-up, as LEDs haven’t always proved to be a reliable investment.

In 2012, Talley’s made a series of LED replacements with poor results. The quality of light produced proved inadequate and it seemed as though these LED bulbs had sacrificed brightness in for energy efficiency. Talley’s understood workplace light quality could not be compromised to save energy.

But the continuing advance of LED technology since 2012, plus the significantly lower costs of LEDs, convinced Talley’s it was time to undertake a second trial.

Several manufacturers now producing LED bulbs that surpass 100 lumens per watt, far above the 13-18 lumens of old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs.

“It was definitely right to reengage with LED technology. The advancements have proved themselves to be a great fit for the productivity and sustainability of our business. We haven’t had to make any compromises on light quality in switching to LEDs, in all cases lux levels have improved – it’s all good,” said Talley’s Chief Electrician Peter Jensen.

Talley’s was also interested in the reputation LED lights had for a long lifespan and low maintenance. In many places at the Ashburton site, the lights are on 24/7 and need replacing regularly (every 1-3 years).

Around 5% of power bills at Talley’s sites is for lighting. Replacing existing lights with LEDs was predicted to save 1.5% to 2.5% of Talley’s electricity costs, plus reduce maintenance costs.

The cold store at Ashburton was due for refurbishment, so the LED installation formed part of the overall re-fit.

From EECA Business’ list of energy efficiency partners, Talley’s selected Digital Lighting Solutions (DLS), who then prepared a new lighting plan. They replaced 37 of the old 400W metal halide fittings with 26 new 140W LED lights in better locations.

An immediate benefit is that LED lights require no time to warm up, against the old high intensity discharge (HID) metal halide lights,  that can take between 5 and 10 minutes to reach full brightness.  This means staff are much more inclined to switch the LED lights off when leaving a room and this new energy-saving habit has led to further savings.

The trial demonstrated that lighting electricity use (and therefore cost) more than halved. As an example; lighting energy use over a two-week period in the room reduced from 5,658kWh to 2,225kWh.  The LED lights also reduce refrigeration energy used by the cold store, which together saves 120,000 kWh annually.

Light lux levels were at the very least maintained and increased up to 50% in places. Anecdotal comments by Talley’s engineers and operators are positive in that LED light quality is a whiter colour than the metal halide-lamps, making  labels easier to read.

With such glowing results from the LED Ashburton trial, Talley’s has since installed LEDs at its three major sites, with plans to install at all sites.

EECA BUSINESS provides both practical advice and financial support to companies looking to become more sustainable through reducing their energy use.  The success and commercial viability of LEDs means EECA no longer provides funding for this technology. 

Talley’s has received support for several aspects of its energy management programme.


  • 125,000kWh saved each year
  • $13,220 saved each year on energy use from a $32,500 outlay
  • $2,068 saved each year on maintenance costs
  • 50% reduction in lighting energy use

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