AEP Ohio Case Study: Carnival Carnival Foods, Lancaster

  • Project Summary

Brighter dairy cases, greater comfort for customers, lower electricity usage, better store lighting and reduced maintenance needs are the many benefits resulting from three projects recently completed by the Carnival Foods store in Lancaster, Ohio with the help of AEP Ohio’s business incentives for energy efficiency.

  • Business Challenge

Location, price and service are critical drivers for success in food retail.
Bright, clean and colorful surroundings, attractive displays, appealing merchandising, and the convenience sought by customers require commitment to continuous improvement. “Every couple of years we give our stores a facelift,” said Krissy Martin, Carnival Foods. “We had considered improving our store lighting. Then we saw a presentation on LED lighting in dairy case retrofits and it made the product ‘pop’.” Still, there were concerns about whether installing doors on their refrigerated cases would hamper customers’ access to milk, yogurt, cheese and other dairy products. Given the 24-hour, 7-day operation, they needed to know the doors could be installed and the lighting retrofitted without inconveniencing customers.

Seeing a presentation on LED lighting was the first step but because product appeal is so important, store owner Dan Bay wanted to see the impact before committing to retrofitting 124 feet of dairy cases

Recognizing the need to invest to keep stores attractive, retrofits were part of the capital budget consistent with Carnival’s long-term business plan. The challenge was in finding ways to stretch those dollars for maximum benefit.


  • Solution

During the retrofit from T12/T8/MH to T5 lighting, Bay learned of the AEP Ohio incentives to help businesses install energy efficient equipment.

He contacted REMIS America, the company that custom manufactures refrigerator case doors and provides turnkey installation of the doors and LED lighting from design to clean-up. “We learned about the AEP Ohio incentives from Dan Bay,” said Mike Steele, Sales Representative for REMIS America. “Now helping our customers from walk-through to application for incentives has become part of the services we provide.”

All the in-store work for the lighting retrofit, the dairy case door installation, and the refrigerated case LED lighting retrofit was done when store traffic was the lightest, the late evening and early morning. REMIS America manufactured the doors to fit the existing five-deck dairy cases.

Installation required removing the molding or trim from the bottom of the existing cases and the light channels from the top. After installing adapters and frames, the old T8/T12 OEM lamps were removed and the new LEDs installed. The door frames were installed and the new glass doors hung. Most of the on-site work was done in the REMIS truck or in available space in the store’s backroom. At the end of each work session, the site was cleaned, trash removed and recycled. “We work to avoid interfering with a store’s customers or impeding their sales,” said Operations Manager, REMIS America. “Our turnkey approach includes follow-up after installation and a standard fifteen month service warranty.”

“Installing doors on refrigerated cases has an attractive return on investment,” said Product Manager, REMIS America, “and the AEP Ohio business incentives of up to 50% of the eligible costs improve the ROI even further. We are excited about the growth of this product. Energy people like it, facilities people like it. Once merchandisers see the way the lighting makes the product sparkle, they become interested.”

According to REMIS America, “If every grocery store in America covered their open cases, the energy savings would be 10.5 billion kWh/year, equivalent to the power production of 7 coal-fired U.S. power plants.” Their company website is at

  • Key benefits

Carnival Foods in Lancaster used the AEP Ohio incentives to accomplish three projects.

Two of the projects were installing doors on the dairy case and replacing the case fluorescent lighting with LEDs. Covering the open dairy cases reduced the number of compressors required to cool them by half and lowered electricity demand. With the LED lighting, product displays are bright and attractive. The store reports no negative impact on sales resulting from either project.

The third project was a lighting retrofit – replacing about 850 T12/T8/MH fixtures and lamps with about 280 T5 fixtures and lamps. This retrofit improved lighting levels. Prior to completing the entire retrofit, Frazier Electric conducted a trial with only ten fixtures. The light level then went from “back alley to football field,” said Ms. Martin. “It is amazing now how much brighter it is with fewer lights.” The lighting retrofit is projected to save about 293,000 kWh annually or a reduction of 46%. Given that T12 bulbs will no longer be manufactured after July 14, 2012, Carnival Foods is ahead by the incentives they earned to replace the soon to be obsolete bulbs.

  • Future plans for efficiency

Bob Bay and Sons own and manage two other Carnival Foods in Ohio in addition to the Lancaster store: Circleville and Heath. The dairy cases are currently being retrofitted with doors and LED lighting in the Circleville store. Plans are underway for similar work in the Heath store in early 2012.

  • About AEP Ohio’s energy efficiency programs for businesses

AEP Ohio’s gridSMART® initiative provides incentives to help business customers purchase and install energy efficient equipment. Prescriptive incentives are available for common commercial and industrial measures including lighting, HVAC, motors and drives, refrigeration, and food preparation and storage equipment. Custom incentives are available for process improvements and other measures not covered through prescriptive incentives.