LEDs serve up 80% savings at Ernesto’s

PGE helps restaurant get moving on a lighting upgrade.

Replacing a single burned-out light bulb doesn’t sound like a big deal. But what if you have more than 300 light bulbs in your business, and the lights fail frequently?

The hassle factor alone was enough to make Chris and Karen Wegner, owners of Ernesto’s Restaurant in southwest Portland, switch to LEDs — which last years longer than other types of lighting.

“I realized I could save a lot of time,” said Chris. “And I’d also save money by not stocking all the back-up bulbs.”

But an even bigger motivator for Chris was the energy cost savings LEDs provide. The classic Italian eatery is projected to cut lighting energy use by 80 percent with the new lighting.

Free advice and cash incentives make it easy

The project kicked off shortly after the Wegners purchased Ernesto’s from the original owners in June 2017.

PGE Energy Expert Mark Whitney toured the business and identified ways they could make the restaurant more cost-efficient and sustainable by saving energy. With so many lights — including recessed can lights, sconces, track lights, chandeliers and other fixtures — Whitney showed them how a lighting upgrade could make a big difference.

Energy Trust of Oregon cash incentives covered half the project costs, and Chris saved even more by installing the lights himself.

Better, more even light quality

“The LEDs are brighter, so it makes it simple to see areas that need extra maintenance,” he says. “And when we dim the lights, it creates a nice ambiance, but our customers say it’s easier to read the menu.

The big picture

“Cost savings are one factor. But we live in the Pacific Northwest, and we care about the environment. Switching to LEDs is one thing businesses can do to save resources and reduce their carbon footprint,” Chris says. “We have kids, and we want to leave a better future.”

How the project penciled out

  • Energy savings: 30,064 kilowatt-hours — an 80 percent reduction
  • Cost savings: $2,763 yearly
  • Project cost: $4,109
  • Energy Trust cash incentives: $2,040
  • Final cost: $2,069
  • Payback: Less than 1 year
  • Return on investment after incentives: 134 percent

Request your own free consultation

If Ernesto’s results sound appealing to you, contact us for a free energy-efficiency consultation at your business. Our energy experts can identify the most effective energy saving steps for your business.