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Indoor Sunshine

  • Linda Platts
  • Cabela’s, one of the world’s largest outfitting companies, is shedding new light on its indoor facilities. In Prairie de Chien, Wis., a 400,000-square-foot retail store and 600,000-square-foot distribution center, have been equipped with full spectrum, energy-efficient light fixtures that spread indoor sunshine while reducing utility bills.

    Full spectrum light is the equivalent of sunlight at high noon. Medical professionals recommend full spectrum light for people who suffer from Seasonal Adjustive Disorder (SAD), a type of depression brought on by low-light winter conditions. Installed by Orion Energy Systems of Plymouth, Wis., the Illuminator fixture provides 36 percent more light while using 70 percent less energy. The Illuminator won Wisconsin’s Spirit of Ecology Award and has several U.S. patents.

    Cabela’s predicts the new lights will reduce electricity usage by 4.05 million kilowatt hours per year and save the equivalent of about 368,000 gallons of gasoline. In addition, emissions of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxide, which have been associated with global warming, acid rain, and smog, will also be reduced.

    The company anticipates improvement to its bottom line through improved working conditions and greater customer satisfaction. Savings on utility bills should pay for the project in less than two years, according to Cabela’s executives.
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