By Erin Rigik, Senior Editor
Family Express Corp. recently completed an aggressive and total energy efficiency upgrade, where it retrofitted its entire fleet of stores with the most advanced technologies in lighting and HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), taking a comprehensive approach to efficiency.
The Valparaiso, Ind.-based chain, which operates stores throughout northwest and north central Indiana, spent approximately $2.5 million on the total energy initiative, and is already seeing on average a 25% reduction in kilowatt hours (kWh), and expects an ROI of between 3-6 years.
“Family Express has been in business for nearly 40 years, yet we never took a strategic approach to energy management until we made a strategic decision to completely revamp our energy performance,” Gregory Laroux, vice president facilities and IT services told CSD. “The evaluation and the study of this opportunity started approximately three years ago. The initial urgency for us had to do with a significant amount of lighting treatments and many rooftop HVAC units that were requiring excessive maintenance because of their age. We also recognized that the various generational lighting treatments that were present in our chain were inconsistent and were creating an unacceptable presentation for our brand image.”
Early in its fact finding mission for the energy initiative, Family Express found that pairing with multiple manufacturers would be necessary, as no one manufacturer could claim best practices and/or outstanding performance in all, or even in most of the areas, in which Family Express aimed to improve.
“We sought to make Family Express as energy efficient as we could within reason, and we wanted to do it quickly because—frankly speaking—the culture of our company is about customers, not light bulbs. So in our investigative process, we learned that exterior lighting is very different than signage lighting, and that horizontal refrigerated cases, may demand a different lighting treatment than vertical ones, etc.,” Laroux said.
Check out CSD’s September issue for more on how Family Express joined forces with eight companies to gain the best efficiency possible in every area of the store.