A convenience store annually spends approximately $4 per square foot on energy costs, according to some industry reports. Counting outdoor canopy lighting, wall-to-wall coolers and other energy-sucking costs, corralling those expenses is a full-time job.
Of course, there are a bevy of strategies to cut those costs. For example, c-stores can invest in ENERGY STAR-certified fixtures that typically use one-quarter the energy of traditional lighting and distribute light more efficiently and evenly than standard fixtures.
ENERGY STAR is a voluntary U.S. Environmental Protection Agency program that delivers environmental benefits and financial value through better energy efficiency.
Giselle Diaz Eastlack is the general manager of Diaz Markets, an 18-store chain based in Louisiana. Diaz Markets started converting sites to LED in 2012. Since then, the c-store has enjoyed lower electric costs annually.
“I estimate a 5% savings on our energy bills, but where we see the most savings is in our maintenance numbers,” said Eastlack. “We no longer need to dedicate so much time in replacing the lighting on the canopy or inside the store.”
The LED lighting has generated positive feedback from patrons.
“It has changed the dynamic for the customer by creating a more inviting environment,” said Eastlack. “The customer is greeted with bright and ‘sparking’ lights outside during dark hours of the day and the products inside the store are more prominent and merchandised, especially in the cooler.”
Lighting is one means of lowering operational costs. Installing better controls and addressing refrigeration needs can help also. ENERGY STAR recommends the following:
• Purchase ENERGY STAR-certified refrigerators and freezers, which can save you energy and money over time. You may be able to find rebates for your purchase from ENERGY STAR partners.
• Keep the doors of all refrigeration and freezer units shut as much as possible as repeated fluctuations in temperature will damage food quality and cost money.
• Check the temperature settings of your units. If the temperature is set lower than necessary, you are probably wasting energy. The most common recommended settings are between -14 degrees and -8 degrees Fahrenheit for freezers and between 35 degrees and 38 degrees Fahrenheit for refrigerators.
• Clean the cooling coils on the backs of all units. Over time, dirt accumulation impairs proper heat transfer and lowers the efficiency and capacity of refrigerators. As you clean dirt and dust, watch for ice accumulation on coils and remove that as well.
• Ensure that the door seals on your units close tightly. Having tight seals and properly closing doors prevents warm air from entering the unit.