Chamber Insider Blog

Sustainability in Loudoun: How One Business Saved $2k a Year

Thank you to Lynne Kaye, a member of the Loudoun Chamber’s Green Business Initiative, for this informative post on how impactful sustainable changes can make on local businesses.

Richard Allen Clothing is a men’s clothing store in Middleburg owned and operated by Rick Bechtold.  Richard Allen participated in the Loudoun Sustainable Business Certification (formerly the Loudoun Dulles Green Business Challenge) for the first time in 2016.  While completing the Challenge Scorecard, it became obvious that lighting was one of the stores’ biggest sustainability challenges. 

High quality lighting is critical to Richard Allen’s success.  The lighting must show off the true colors, patterns and weaves of the stores’ suits, shirts, ties, sportswear and other merchandise.  As a result of these strict lighting requirements, the store was outfitted with rows of special halogen lights.  The specialty bulbs had short lives – at least one burned out every few days –  and cost $9 to replace which was a nuisance and got quite expensive.

Richard Allen Clothing is in a building that dates from the 1700s and has low ceilings.  The halogen lights were hot which meant the store needed to run its air condition longer than normal, which increased utility costs and cut into margins.  The hot lights sometimes made it hard to maintain a comfortable temperature even with the air conditioning running.  Research studies show that comfortable temperatures reduce stress levels, increase productivity and improve interpersonal relationships.  That means that a hot store has the potential to negatively impact both employee productivity and customer relationships which could impact business success even more than the extra air conditioning.

Rick Bechtold tried LED lights in the store several years before and found the color of the light unsatisfactory.  Lynne Kaye of Unison Advisory Group and a member of the Loudoun Sustainable Business Certification organizing committee helped Rick fill out Richard Allens’ Loudoun Sustainable Business Certification scorecard.  She knew that LED technology was advancing rapidly, and that it might now provide a solution to their lighting needs.  Lynne helped Rick connect with Steve Searles of LED Source to see whether there might be a more sustainable way to light his store.

Steve visited Richard Allen and designed an LED lighting solution that used fewer, longer lived, cooler bulbs and required a fraction of the electricity of the halogen bulbs.  While each LED bulb costs more than each of the halogen bulbs, using fewer of them and not having to replace them because they don’t burn out makes the new lighting affordable.  Of even more significance was that fact that the halogen lighting used a lot of energy especially compared to the new LED lights.  Replacing them generated energy savings of approximately $2500 per year, paying off the cost of the project in about 9 months.

Thanks to the new LED lights, Richard Allen is beautifully lit with LED bulbs that save electricity, air conditioning, last longer and help keep the store comfortable.


Click here to learn more about the Loudoun Sustainable Business Certification (formerly the Loudoun Dulles Green Business Challenge) or call Paige Romanow at 571-209-9029. 

To learn more about Richard Allen, click here, or visit the store at 100 East Washington Street, Middleburg, VA 20118 or call 540-687-5677.