San Diego burger joint saves electricity with LED lighting

San Diego burger joint saves electricity with LED lighting

Summary: Even though Hodad's second location is twice the size of its original restaurant, it uses the same amount of electricity.

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TOPICS: Storage
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Apparently, restaurants are particularly finicky about their lighting needs. That's because most patron kind of want their food to look appetizing, not just smell yummy.

That's why the ability to dim lights for ambiance is a big deal, and one that has made it difficult for food service companies to use LED technology in the past. Most lighting in restaurants is still the incandescent sort, which is a tremendous waste of electricity.

That's why San Diego Gas & Electric's Emerging Technologies Program figured that a popular burger joint planning to open a second location would be a good place to test out the energy and cost savings implications of LED lighting.

That restaurant, Hodad's, agreed to be part of an SDG&E demonstration program that outfitted its second location with dimmable LED lighting technology. It got the fixtures for free, in exchange for agreeing to share its data with the utility.

Mike Hardin, owner of the second-generation small business, said even though the second location is about twice the size of his original restaurant, the LED technology has helped keep the electricity bills about the same size. When he was building the second location, his contractor suggested LED lights and got Hardin hooked up with the SDG&E demonstration project.

"Lighting is super important as something you should address," Hardin said. "You don't realize how much you use it in everyday life."

Ted Reguly, director of customer programs and assistance at SDG&E, said that the utility's long-term vision is to figure out how it can recommend energy-efficiency projects such as the Hodad's installation to other restaurants and companies in the hospitality industry. Aside from dimming features, another technology that the utility believes will be especially compelling for these businesses is motion detectors that automate when lights are on or off (or perhaps dimmed or undimmed).

"We need to get input about reliability and satisfaction with the technology," he said.

At Hodad's, there haven't been any positive comments yet about the ambiance, Hardin said. But there haven't been any negative ones, either, which in his mind means the LED experiment is working as expecting.

Topic: Storage

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7 comments
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  • cool lighting, terrible burgers

    too bad they have some of the worst burgers i've had. went there a few times (thought it would get better since so many people rave about this place), super soggy bottom bun, crusty/curnchy top bun and meat patties that don't even rival McDonald's. i will say that they did have very good fries, onion rings and the lettuce tomatoes, etc. were very good. Burgers themselves though, awful.
    bishop27
    • I'm with ya...

      I never got the appeal of Hodad's burgers. Phil's BBQ FTW!

      More on topic, I've just replaced some of my most used lights with LEDs, so I'm curious to see if there's going to be much impact on my bill.
      brble
  • Unreal. So, the city basically spent a ton of money to actually

    reduce utility revenue to the city. When they figure that out, they'll jack the price of electricity and your restaurant owner will be right back where he was before on his electric bills.
    baggins_z
  • LED lighting rocks!

    I am nearly 100% LED lighting in my home at this point and it has cut my electrical costs significantly. It has been well worth the effort and the price of LED bulbs continues to go down and the quality and performance continues to improve. My original LED bulbs are close to three years old at this point and show no sign of giving up, even, in some cases, with the kind of hard use that compact fluorescents failed to deal with.
    George Mitchell
  • Hodads LED Lighting

    Duracell LED Lamps were used on this project.
    jcutter@...
  • That's classy

    LED lit burger outlets ... i'm sure there's a Hollywood storyline there somewhere ... i just can't for the life of me think of it.

    Either way, anything that brings burger joint technology into the 21st century is gotta be a good thing. ;)
    thx-1138_
  • Why not...

    ...just put in some sky lights and turn off all the lights?
    Tony Burzio