December 11, 2002

ROSEMEAD, Calif., Dec. 11, 2002-With the help of Southern California Edison (SCE), Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse is working to save energy throughout California by building stores that reduce energy use and maximize efficiency.  By participating in SCE's "Savings By Design" program, the company expects to save the equivalent of the annual electricity use of 2,500 homes in southern California.

"Savings By Design encourages high-performance, nonresidential building designs throughout all of California's business sectors," said Eric Oates, an energy efficiency consultant in SCE's new construction services department. Savings By Design is sponsored by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). 

Lowe's, the nation's second largest home improvement retailer, worked with SCE to determine the best way to reduce energy costs for its 38 California stores.  The company started with its new, 120,000-square-foot Murrieta, Calif. prototype store which opened earlier this year, and plans to extend those successful energy-saving methods to improve the efficiency of future stores. 

"Our study concluded that the greatest opportunity for energy savings would be the use of skylighting with automatic photoelectric controls that turn off electric lights when interior daylight levels are ample.  This reduces both lighting and cooling loads since reduced electric lighting decreases cooling needs.  To maximize skylighting potential, skylights should be placed over aisles in the store's high rack areas.  By optimizing the number of skylights, their location, and using advanced energy management systems to reduce the building's electric demand, Lowe's is estimated to save approximately 736,000 kWh annually at its Murrieta store," Oates added. 

SCE's analysis also compared the energy impacts of different types of walls - concrete versus masonry bricks or tilt-up construction, the difference between them was only ½ percent.   The analysis showed that building materials are insignificant in energy use when compared to internal display lighting, ambient lighting and the cost to keep shoppers and employees comfortable with the use of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.

"These results clearly illustrate the link between energy-efficient design and bottom line success for our stores," said Lowe's vice president of retail facility management, Robin Nickles. "By incorporating these optimized daylighting strategies, we will be saving money on our energy bills, regardless of climate zone, and can also provide an environment more conducive to sales and employee productivity."

SCE customers are encouraged to participate in the program before building new facilities or expanding or renovating existing operations.  For more information on SCE's Savings By Design program, call (800) 338-8502 or visit

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An Edison International company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation's largest electric utilities, serving a population of more than 11 million via 4.3 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within central, coastal and Southern California.  For more information on the California electricity market, see