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Cree Helps Denny’s Flip the LED Light Switch

Published on: 1/9/2011

DURHAM, N.C. -- Denny’s Corporation, America’s largest full-service family restaurant chain, has chosen energy-efficient LED lights from Cree, Inc. (Nasdaq: CREE) as the preferred lighting standard for all its new and remodeled stores across the United States. Cree’s award-winning LR6™ six-inch downlights are being specified in various applications, including dining areas and restrooms in all newly constructed and converted facilities.

“We evaluated numerous LED light fixtures from a variety of manufacturers to ensure that we chose the best possible product and partner for this major lighting specification,” explained Mitch Riese, corporate architect, senior manager of design & construction, Denny’s. “With the Cree LR6 fixture, we found the best value for our money, helping us deliver beautiful, warm light, while significantly reducing our energy consumption and maintenance requirements.” 

Pete LaBarre, a Denny’s franchisee in Colorado Springs, Colo., is already seeing extensive savings since converting to LED lighting. LaBarre has installed more than 400 Cree LR6 downlights in the dining rooms of his five restaurants, a move that has saved him around $15,500 per year in energy costs alone. Impressed with the energy and maintenance savings from installing LR6 downlights in his dining rooms, LaBarre has decided to use the six-inch LED downlights in a variety of other applications. Currently he has replaced 500 fluorescent bulbs and tubes with 200 Cree LR6 fixtures, illuminating the perimeter of each restaurant. 

"Our lights stay on all the time, so we did a watt comparison of what we had in place before the LR6 downlights,” said LaBarre. “We found that we used 6,000 kilowatt hours less per month in the store that had the Cree fixtures versus the store that had the fluorescent lighting,” he said. 

Another early LED lighting devotee is Joey Terrell, a Denny’s franchisee in Illinois. In 2009, Terrell opened his second restaurant in Joliet, a suburb of Chicago. Built according to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold standards, the Joliet Denny’s includes a combination of natural lighting and Cree LR6 LED downlights to reduce the restaurant’s lighting load. 

According to Terrell, this lighting design reduced utility costs by 83 percent and his electricity bill is now around $1,000 a month instead of the expected $2,100 a month based on the average costs for his Mokena, Ill. location.

“Restaurants use 285 percent more utilities than the average commercial building,” said Terrell. “The easiest way to reduce these costs and improve energy-efficiency is to switch from traditional fluorescents to daylighting and LEDs, and that’s what we did.”

“Denny’s is a great example for any restaurant chain looking to become more energy-efficient,” said Craig Lofton, Cree LED Lighting vice president of sales. “Not only can switching to LED lighting offer energy savings and maintenance avoidance, but the Cree LR6 downlight delivers the quality of light customers want.” 

About Cree
Cree is leading the LED lighting revolution and making energy-wasting traditional lighting technologies obsolete through the use of energy-efficient, environmentally friendly LED lighting. Cree is a market-leading innovator of lighting-class LEDs, LED lighting solutions, and semiconductor solutions for backlighting, wireless and power applications.

Cree’s product families include recessed LED down lights, blue and green LED chips, high-brightness LEDs, lighting-class power LEDs, power-switching devices and radio-frequency/wireless devices. Cree solutions are driving improvements in applications such as general illumination, electronic signs and signals, variable-speed motors, and wireless communications.

For additional product and company information, please refer to www.CreeLEDlighting.com. To learn more about the LED Lighting Revolution, please visit www.creeLEDrevolution.com.

This press release contains forward-looking statements involving risks and uncertainties, both known and unknown, that may cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated. Actual results may differ materially due to a number of factors, including the risk that Denny’s plans may change resulting in lower product sales; the possibility that actual savings may vary from expectations; the rapid development of new technology and competing products that may impair demand or render Cree’s products obsolete; and other factors discussed in Cree’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its report on Form 10-K for the year ended June 27, 2010, and subsequent filings.


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