Specialty Market Applications

Last Update: March 11, 2012
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Specialty Market Design


The inspiration for the Specialty Market store is an outdoor farmers' market. This strategy provides different types of merchandise “offered fresh” in a variety of departments. One of the keys to success is the produce stands access to daylight. The abundance of daylight helps make the various produce seem ultra-fresh. This is in part due to the high color rendering of daylight. Using daylight as the primary source of illumination helps to provide high levels of uniform illumination while allowing the reduction of energy consumption and cost.


Toplighting strategies can be applied throughout the store, taking advantage of single story specialty market stores. The general merchandise areas are lighted with a uniform layout of low glare tubular skylights. With a one to one spacing to mounting height ratio, the merchandise is uniformly lighted with quality daylight. Providing uniform illumination is important when trying to incorporate control strategies to conserve energy by lowering electric light levels in response to the availability of daylight. Store design may allow perimeter areas (i.e. Bakery, Produce, Point of Sales) to take advantage of sidelighting.


The ambient lighting strategy should support the function and aesthetic of each store area. In the general sales area, ambient light levels may be relatively higher and more uniform. In specialty areas, lower ambient light levels allow for more accent light on products, creating focus and attracting attention to the products. The ambient lighting should provide a soft quality of light upwards into the exposed structure above. This indirect light provides a sense of the entire volume of the store.  By illuminating the structure, it will not become either too dark or too bright.  Instead, it would remain fairly neutral in the luminous environment and not take away focus from the merchandise.  Another benefit of this uplight component is to help reduce the potential glare from the skylights by brightening the ceiling.

To help lower the energy consumption of the store, it is important to select luminaires for the ambient lighting system that can be integrated into the control strategy.  Compact fluorescent and linear fluorescent luminaires offer both dimming and on/off switching options for energy saving controls. Dimming daylight controls are preferred to provide a smooth and imperceptible variation of electric lighting that does not disturb customers.

Accent Light

Track-mounted metal halide accent luminaires are the main source of accent light in the specialty market.  Metal halide was chosen because it is an energy efficient source that also provides a strong punch of directional light.  Although the actual lamp being used is efficient, ASHRAE 90.1-2004 specifies the way in which track lighting is to be counted in all energy calculations: 30 watts per linear foot of track run.  For this reason, the length of track used should be kept to a minimum and only located at feature display locations.  In general, these feature display systems include the entire produce section, gondola end-caps, and free standing display tables for fresh goods (bakery, cheese, meats, fish, etc). In the near future, LED may also be considered for accent lighting, but the majority of LED products are not yet comparable to metal halide for this application.

Perimeter Lighting

Brightness around the store perimeter improves visual clarity in the space by lighting wall surfaces, signage, and other aesthetic or way-finding features. A mixture of fluorescent and metal halide sources can be used to achieve a variety of brightness and focus. Soon, LEDs may also be considered for perimeter lighting. Currently, LED technology must be carefully evaluated for reliability and cost is often too high to be considered for use on a large scale.

Decorative Lighting

Decorative lighting can be used to focus customers’ attention and support the individual character of specialty service oriented areas, such as the deli and bakery. Compact fluorescent and LED sources provide energy efficient alternatives to incandescent and halogen.

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