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Green-Certified Z Folio Gallery Exhibits Energy Efficiency in Retail

Zdena Jiroutova and Michael Mendizza were inspired to open an art and jewelry gallery after a popular display of their crystals at a street fair. Z Folio Gallery, established in 2006, displays top-quality artwork, glassware, jewelry and photography from more than 100 artists.

Z Folio of Solvang continued its quest for excellence by becoming a Santa Barbara County Certified Green Business at the beginning of 2012.

For the certification process, Z Folio began by implementing greener cleaning products and reusing packaging materials for shipping its merchandise. It also installed low-flow aerators on faucetsand retrofitted toilets. The biggest challenge left was to change the light fixtures without altering the quality of the artwork and jewelry displays.

“Switching to LEDs was something we were thinking of for a few years,” Jiroutova said. “The quality of the lighting wasn’t quite there yet and the prices were very high.”

A great challenge was to find high-quality lighting that would complement Z Folio’s display of artwork and jewelry while reducing energy consumption. In order to receive the Green Business Certification, Z Folio needed to switch out its halogen bulbs for more efficient LED lighting. After finding quality LEDs at the best price, Jiroutova was able to replace all of the gallery’s halogen lights.

Z Folio’s annual energy use from lighting fixtures decreased from 22,841 kWh to 4,961 kWh, a savings of approximately $3,183 per year. The light installation has also reduced the need for air conditioning.

With Solvang’s hot seasons, air conditioning was necessary to keep the gallery at comfortable temperature levels. However, after the installation, Zdena noticed the LED lights didn’t heat up the gallery as much as the halogen fixtures did, thus reducing the need for air conditioning as well as the overall costs and energy consumption.

As a small-business owner, Jiroutova was able to reduce energy consumption and costs while maintaining the quality and integrity of the gallery.

— Ashley Koide is an intern for the Santa Barbara County Green Business Program.

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