LEDs enhance Italy’s natural assets and wow Marmo, Inc. customers
Pocketed between condominiums and industry on Chicago’s West Side you’ll find the raw beauty of Italy on display in the form of its most valuable natural assets. Inside the warehouse of Marmo, Inc., row after row, slab after slab, stand the rarest natural stones sourced from the birthplace of Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci ready for installation into homes and businesses.
And just like fine art, proper lighting of the stone makes a world of difference in seeing the nuances and beauty. When it was time to upgrade its lighting, Marmo, Inc. partnered with Sustainable Lighting Solutions (SLS) to convert its dated fluorescent warehouse lighting to LED.
Marmo Inc. is a major importer and wholesale supplier of prestigious natural stones, specializing in rare Italian stones. Marmo is a leading supplier to many national commercial and residential building projects. Marmo’s 10,000-square-foot warehouse and adjacent showroom are centrally located on the West Side, a location that is great for designers, architects, builders, and consumers. But warehouse worker Oscar Hernandez says the lighting was not, and in fact yellowed the appearance of the stone.
The Marmo team says the new lighting made the nauseating yellow light history. “As each fixture went up, you could see the difference,” says Hernandez, who helped oversee the installation. “Our customers immediately noticed – they asked us if we cleaned the windows.”
Hernandez’s colleague agreed. “Before everything was yellow,” Office Manager Lorena Navarez says. “Now we can see the beiges, whites, and the true yellow in the stone. It’s so easy to take pictures of the stone now and capture all of its colors.”
Hernandez says that when SLS presented Marmo with a proposal, the energy savings – estimated at nearly $3,600 annually – was a main driver in the decision-making process. SLS recommended an all-LED conversion, which made the project eligible for generous energy efficiency incentives that covered nearly 75 percent of the cost.
Since the installation has been completed, Hernandez says a major benefit of the project is its impact on customers. Marmo’s commitment to offering its customers the highest quality stones and personalized customer service has only been strengthened by the lighting improvements.
Nevarez adds, “Now the stone is lit in such a way that customers can appreciate every nuance of its unique beauty.”
SLS replaced the dated fluorescent fixtures with modern LEDs. The total project cost came in just over $19,000, of which $14,000 was covered by energy efficiency incentives through ComEd. Replacing the lighting is expected to decrease Marmo’s annual energy consumption by more than 35,000 kWh, which accounts for an annual utility bill savings of more than $3,600. The project payback on the investment is 17 months.
Hernandez says the project was scheduled to take three days, because it was necessary to use a crane to maneuver around the slabs of stone. “Every fixture that went up you could see the old and new. The white clean light against the yellow nauseating light. It was a dramatic improvement.”
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