Sustainable Lighting

The Road Pantry’s LED-backlit awning provides maintenance-free illumination

The first thing I reach for in the morning is a steaming hot cup of coffee. I’m not choosy about brand, but it has to be fresh and it has to be hot. And maybe a nice muffin and orange juice to go with it. This is the sort of thing one might pick up if driving, say, from Sycamore to St. Charles in Illinois on Route 64, stopping at the new Road Pantry convenience store that recently opened in Lily Lake.

Parvin-Clauss (Carol Stream, IL), a full-service designer, fabricator and installer of signage, was brought on board to design the Road Pantry’s expansive 240 x 6 x 3-ft.-deep awning. The owner said he wanted the façade to “pop” with bright lighting that would give customers a sense of security, according to Bob Clauss, president of Parvin-Clauss. Low maintenance was also critical. “He said he would rather pay a little more on the front end to avoid frequent light replacements and poor light quality on the back end,” Clauss said.

The team initially considered fluorescent and LED tubes. However, because fluorescents require frequent replacement, typically every three years (sometimes more frequently when electronic ballasts fail at freezing temperatures), they chose an LED solution. Working with distributor Darrell Davis of Midwest Sign Supply Co. (Chicago), the customer selected the Batten LED Luminaire from Current by GE (Boston). The fixture is IP66 rated for use in damp, dirty locations.

The installation required two rows of luminaires, a total of 66 high-output GE Batten light bars of different lengths (fifty-six 8-foot, eight 4-foot and two 2-foot). A very cool color temperature of 7100K was chosen, which provides higher energy efficiency (100 lm/W) than light at warmer white temperatures using LEDs. “Our installers commented on the plug-and-play nature of the GE Battens, which led to minimal labor,” Clauss said. The Batten LED luminaires reduce the Road Pantry’s electricity bill by about 25% versus fluorescent backlighting for its awning. At a rate of 11 cents/kWhr, savings quickly add up for this convenience store.

The awning used Eradi-Lite 2710 Mid Red material. This lightweight, vinyl-laminated polyester with acrylic topcoat is strong, flexible and stain-resistant, and is designed for backlit illumination. When eradicated (erased), the material revealed the white underside to show “ROAD PANTRY, SNACKS, LIQUOR.”

The Road Pantry’s awning shines bright with a consistent light that should not require replacement of any of the 66 fixtures for at least five years (warranty period) and perhaps several years longer – a welcome treat for the people of Lily Lake and visiting passersby.

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