Energy-Saving Ideas for Retailers

May 16, 2016

Retail Window DisplayE Source has been providing objective research and advisory services to over 300 utilities and large energy users for more than 25 years. Interested in boosting your bottom line while elevating the shopping atmosphere of your store? E Source offers retailers these tips to save significant amounts of energy while maintaining or even improving customer comfort…


1 | Turn things off
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, lighting accounts for more than 50 percent of all electricity consumption in retail buildings, so it’s a great idea to turn lights off when they are not in use. When properly installed, occupancy sensors and timers can help to achieve this. A no-cost option is to simply train staff to include turning off lights as part of storeclosing procedures. In addition to lighting, many retail stores have electronic displays that are left on even when the store is closed. At the end of the day, these displays can be shut off manually or with simple timers.


2 | Change HVAC settings
HVAC is one of the biggest sources of energy consumption in retail buildings. During closed hours, turn temperature settings down in heating seasons and up in cooling seasons. You can automate these settings with programmable thermostats. Additionally, make sure that HVAC settings in stockrooms, offices and other peripheral spaces are at minimum settings.


3 | Maintain your HVAC system
Making sure that your HVAC system is regularly cleaned and serviced can help to prevent costly heating and cooling bills. Two simple ways to improve the efficiency of your system are to change your filters regularly and to check your condenser coils for any debris that they may have collected. If your system uses an economizer, have a licensed technician check, clean, calibrate and lubricate it about once a year, as economizer failure can increase heating and cooling costs by up to 50 percent.


4 | Improve your lighting
Proper display lighting is critical for gaining sales and preventing returns. LED, compact fluorescent and metal halide all are efficient alternatives to quartz halogen track and spot lights. Don’t forget about T12 fluorescent lamps—relamping with modern T8 tubes and electronic ballasts can reduce lighting energy consumption by a third. Meanwhile, most parking lots are designed with far more lighting than is necessary. When designing for a new lot, consider low-wattage fixtures that direct light downward. Even with less total light output, a retail store often can safely use fewer lamps if this choice is made. For all applications, have a lighting consultant review your layout to ensure it provides appropriate light levels, light quality and energy performance.


5 | Commission your building
Commissioning is a process in which engineers systematically check and tune up building systems to ensure that they are operating appropriately and efficiently. Studies have shown that commissioning a building’s energy systems can lead to reductions of around 16 percent in annual energy bills. In addition to providing energy savings, commissioning often increases comfort for occupants because the majority of problems identified tend to concern HVAC systems. If your building was previously commissioned, consider investing in recommissioning every three to five years.


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