Corporate Responsibility

Kimco’s Illumi-Nation initiative targets 100 lighting retrofits across the U.S. in 2015

Posted by: Will Teichman Will Teichman
on October 30, 2014

Conserving energy and reducing operating expenses through property retrofits have been issues of growing importance to Kimco over the past several years. Through our award-winning Gateway Building Controls Program we have installed state-of-the-art systems at the majority of our Tier 1 properties that allow for advanced control and monitoring of exterior lighting by property managers. By limiting unnecessary nighttime illumination, we have reduced average per property common area electric consumption by 18 percent without negatively impacting shopping center activity.

LIGHTING THE NIGHT: New LED lighting casts a bright glow at Kimco’s 280 Metro Center in Colma, Ca.

Now that we’ve established a foundation for lighting efficiency at our properties, we’re focused on taking the next major leap forward on lighting. As you’ve probably read about on our blog and other forums, Kimco has articulated and is executing on a best-in-class strategy to upgrade the quality and value of our properties. We’ve been actively disposing of non-core properties, acquiring strategic sites in core markets, and re-investing in those properties we intend to hold over the long term. Investments in exterior lighting are a major area of focus for our Tier 1 properties, because they enhance nighttime curb appeal and can drive higher shopper activity levels at centers during the evening hours.

LIGHTING THE WAY: Parking lots are retrofitted to sustainable LED lights at 280 Metro Center.

LIGHTING THE WAY: Parking lots are retrofitted to sustainable LED lights at 280 Metro Center.

Today I am excited to announce the formal launch of Illumi-Nation, our company’s largest sustainability initiative to date. By the end of 2015, Kimco aims to overhaul lighting systems at more than 100 properties – investing an estimated $8 million in enhancements that will improve the perceived quality, uniformity, and efficiency of exterior lighting at our shopping centers.

The scale and impact of this initiative is unique in our industry, and represents a serious commitment among leading owners to drive rapid sustainability improvements across a significant portion of its portfolio. As the largest public owner of open-air shopping centers in North America, we recognize the leadership role our company can play when it comes to embracing emerging technologies. That’s why Kimco has decided to utilize LED technology on the majority of these projects, and to embrace a portfolio rollout strategy as opposed to incremental “business as usual” improvements. By the end of 2015, this initiative will have transformed approximately 25 percent of Kimco’s portfolio based on value, and we intend to keep the project pipeline full leading into 2016 and beyond.

ILLUMI-NATION: A state-of-the-art LED fixture up close.

ILLUMI-NATION: A state-of-the-art LED fixture up close.

Over the next year, you’ll be hearing about this initiative in much more detail – including what motivated Kimco to undertake such a large program, specific examples of projects completed, the technologies we’re using, and also some of the speed bumps we’ll no doubt encounter along the way. We hope to include many stakeholder voices, and provide an engaging and ongoing narrative as we seek to communicate the details behind this exciting new initiative.


Will Teichman and Kimco continue to be leaders in sustainability and common sense. I would be interested in hearing how long it is expected to recover the costs of these retrofits and how these lights satisfy the requirement that they adequately light the area for safety purposes.

October 30, 2014

Thanks, Howard. With 100 planned projects in the pipeline, the specifics in terms of payback, lighting quality, etc. will of course vary by site. In general, we’ve found simple paybacks in the range of 1-5 years for LED retrofits with recoverability of those costs dependent upon the specifics of leases in place at each property. Kimco and other owners are experiencing some success in securing participation from tenants in these projects, and are finding that retailers recognize the benefits associated with reduced common area electric bills and improved curb-appeal. In terms of lighting quality, I would encourage anyone considering LED lights to hang a few test fixtures and see the difference for yourself. The most compelling benefit we’ve seen with LEDs to date is improved distribution of light – evening out the bright and dark spots created with traditional HID light sources such as high pressure sodium and metal halide.

– Will

November 4, 2014

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