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Anyone who’s visited a hair salon knows they just buzz with energy. The Daybreak Salon & Spa in Woodhaven is no different. Or is it? On the surface, it’s like most salons.

Stylists are busy with cuts, color and blow outs, which mean the curling irons, flat irons and hair dryers are going non-stop. As you might imagine, it takes a lot of energy to keep this colorful and brightly lit salon going seven days — and 85 hours — a week. But what may surprise you is that co-owner and senior stylist, Jerad Rushlow, is almost as knowledgeable about energy efficiency as he is about hair, and he’s committed to making his salon as efficient as possible.

 

High Lights And Low Lights In The Salon

A high exposed ceiling gives the attractive salon a modern look, but it’s a challenge for lighting. “A lot of our business is hair color, and lighting has always been a problem,” Mr. Rushlow explains. “Stylists need to see as much detail in the hair as they can, so I used to have huge gymnasium style lights with bright metal-halide lamps. I also had track lighting for warmth, because you need cool and warm color together, but it was overkill so I started taking the lights out.”

The lights used an extreme amount of energy, generated a lot of heat and burned out quickly. In fact, Mr. Rushlow said he was changing two or three 75-watt bulbs a week, and when you consider he had 75 lights in the shop, it was costing him a lot in money and time.

Not having a contractor to rely on, Mr. Rushlow did his own research and switched to low-voltage, energy efficient LED lights. “I find with LEDs, we’re getting more brilliant, more accurate color than we were when we were trying to combine a warm and a bright light to hit that middle ground. The LEDs give stylist a much truer color.”

LED’s are now available in a range of color temperatures, which is measured in degrees Kelvin. Rushlow experimented and settled on lights of around 3,000 degrees Kelvin, which deliver a warm white light. He also installed energy efficient T5 fluorescent fixtures in the high ceilings. While each fixture holds four lights, the lighting was too bright, so he cut back to just two tubes in each fixture.

Because the business is an Aveda salon, he installed new retail shelves in the front of the shop. The old units were backlit with inefficient T12 fluorescent tubes; however, the new shelves are backlit with 14-watt LED magnetic lightning strips of 3,500 degrees Kelvin. The strips provide beautiful, subtle lighting to showcase his full line of Aveda products.

All of the LED lighting in the salon is on dimmers. The ability to dial down the lighting helps Mr. Rushlow maintain an intimate, cozy feeling in the spa where nothing is on full power except the 40-watt lights that illuminate nail color. The old incandescent 40-watt bulbs will soon be switched out to LEDs, along with other incandescents in two treatment rooms.

 

Making Headway In Other Areas, Too

Because the 3,500-square-foot salon is open 85 hours a week, heating and cooling needs are significant. “With two 8-ton furnaces and air conditioning units on the roof, we have more capacity than we need,” said Mr. Rushlow. “We keep the thermostat at 64° at night and turn the heat up about a half hour before we open each day.”

With no vestibule, cold air rushed in when the front door is opened. “I’m trying to figure out how I can keep cold air out. I want to come up with a creative way to do that.”

The salon uses a lot of water for laundering towels and capes, so Mr. Rushlow purchased two Maytag Heavy Duty High Efficiency ENERGY STAR®-rated washing machines and two commercial dryers. Because his older hot water heater can’t keep up with demand, he bought an ENERGY STAR Navien tankless insta-hot that pre-heats water before it goes into the water heater. “I can actually run the entire salon with the Navien,” he said. It’s small, efficient and great for an area where space is at a premium.”

When it comes to the energy-efficient journey, we like Mr. Rushlow’s style. He wants to complete his lighting renewal, and down the road he may want to upgrade to an ENERGY STAR hot water heater, but he’s made great headway. With an abundance of natural LED light, his customers and their hair are looking very good indeed.

Visit dteenergy.com/lightingguide if you are trying to choose the correct new lighting for the different work spaces in your business.

 

This article was originally published in DTE Energy’s magazine EnergySmarts.

For more tips and inspiration for small business owners,
visit CBS Small Business Pulse Detroit.

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