Wendy’s lighting up with new-wave LEDs

Published 11:29 am Monday, February 6, 2012

The Wendy’s in front of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office on Clay Street might be a beacon of change for the lighting industry.

The fast food restaurant opened in June and is the first business in Vicksburg to use light-emitting diodes made at Vicksburg’s Cooper Lighting, or LEDs, for lighting up the area outside the eatery. The lights are a high-power, energy-efficient alternative to traditional bulbs, said Don Sapp, a district manager with Carlisle Corp., the company that owns the Clay Street Wendy’s.

The power comes with a hefty price tag. For a Wendy’s the LEDs cost about $2,100 per pole — about twice as much as traditional lighting — Sapp said. Adding to the cost, the store’s sign and accent lighting are also LED. It’s a pricey investment, but after a short time it yields a high return, Sapp said.

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“We have determined based on the current pricing levels for electricity usage that in five years it will pay us back,” he said.

Carlisle has been investing in LED technology for about five years, Sapp said, and the company uses LEDs in new stores and remodeling projects.

“It’s the right thing to do ecologically speaking, and it makes business sense to do it,” he said.

Sapp said he hopes to get a decade of use out of the LEDs before replacing them, and some stores might be adding more of the lights.

“The next thing that we are going to is interior lighting that will give us the same effect,” Sapp said.

Having a LED light bulb for a decade soon won’t be unheard of, said Entergy Spokesman Don Arnold.

“Some of them will last as long as 40 years. That’s a lot of what you’re going to start seeing,” Arnold said. “That’s going to be the new standard of lighting.”

The lights also are available to consumers at a cost of $10 to $30 per bulb. Many people balk at the price tag without thinking of the benefits, Arnold said.

“In the long run, it’s going to save you money, and that’s not even including the energy that it’s going to save,” he said. “They’re expensive right now, but that’s the way those compact florescent lights were several years ago.”

Cooper Lighting’s plant on U.S. 61 South, has produced LED technology for a number of years. Sapp and Arnold both said they have consulted Cooper employees about the lighting. A local Cooper spokesman did not return calls for comment.