Grocery stores owners and managers spend a large proportion of their operational expenses on electricity and natural gas. In a typical grocery, refrigeration and lighting represent between 45 and 75 percent of the total energy use, depending on climate. This amount of annual expenditure presents an opportunity for big savings. Although energy only represents about 1 percent of total grocery store costs, it is about equal to a typical grocery’s profit margin. That being said, a 10 percent reduction in energy costs can mean a 10 percent increase in profits.
To better manage your building’s energy costs, it helps to understand how you are charged for those costs. Most utilities charge commercial buildings for their natural gas based on the amount of energy delivered. Electricity, on the other hand, can be charged based on two measures; consumption and demand. The consumption component of the bill is based on how much electricity in kilowatt-hours the building consumes during a month. The demand component is the peak demand in kilowatts occurring within the month, or during the previous 12-month time span.
Demand charges can range from a few dollars per kilowatt-month to upwards of $20 per kilowatt-month. Peak demand can be a considerable percentage of your bill, so care should be taken to reduce it whenever possible. As you read the following energy cost management recommendations, keep in mind how each one will affect both your consumption and demand.
Computers, cash registers, deli scales, and deli cooking equipment should be shut off when not in use.
“Smart” power strips with built-in occupancy sensors are available to shut off plugged-in devices when no users are present. Turn off lights when they’re not in use. Occupancy sensors can help; a less expensive alternative is to train staff to ensure that switches are off when the lights are not needed. Stores open all night may want to install dual-level switching for overhead lights, allowing alternate fixtures to be turned off during low-traffic hours. If commercial refrigeration service in Missouri is a topic that needs to be addressed, contact American Services for further assistance.