Convenience stores use between 3 and 7 times more energy per square foot than most businesses. That fact alone should make it clear to any smart operator that your stores can’t afford to ignore energy efficiency or to delay projects that will increase it. Taking prompt action and undertaking deep energy efficiency projects will save your stores money, without any doubt. In this sense, sustainability is clearly profitability.
But high energy usage (and the opportunity to create big savings by addressing it) is just one reason energy efficiency for convenience stores is such a big deal, and why transforming all your locations to implement greener, newer, and more efficient technologies ought to be a top priority. Whether or not you realize it yet, your customers, your employees, and even your state and local government all expect your stores to be sustainable. And they are probably going to give you reasons to take action and make major upgrades sooner than you may be planning.
Energy and Technology: Problems and Solutions
Your stores need to be cool all summer and warm all winter, even with huge windows, and doors opening and closing, and the lights on 24 hours a day. That puts a huge strain on your HVAC system, particularly in the extreme weather parts of the year. You also have several large refrigerators and freezers, not to mention heated and cooled food areas and beverage stations, all putting more het into your store environment. People and food prep even generate their own heat, further straining your Air Conditioning, burning more energy. Not only is total energy high for C-Stores per Square Foot, but rush hours can push your peak demand charges up. This puts extra strain on the local grid, creating additional charges and higher kWh rates for you.
Solving these energy issues is probably not part of your current action plan. Increasing sales, attracting customers, and even keeping your employee team happy usually take priority. So, what can you do about sustainability that won’t take away from other things higher on the “to do” list?
Reducing all that energy waste is pretty straightforward, at least at the most basic level. For example, if you haven’t already installed interior & exterior LED lights and replaced aging HVAC units (or newer but cheaper and inferior models), you know what you need to. But making bigger or “deeper” sustainability improvements goes way beyond these basics. Energy sensors, controls and sub-metering systems can be complex to install, and all the different pieces of the “green” upgrade you plan for your store may not work together as well as you hope – particularly if you’re buying from multiple vendors or trying to handle it all yourself.
Why wait? There’s a new kind of energy management firm which can make the technological and logistical aspects of profitable sustainability easy, even effortless. But if you’re still hesitating, that means that the most difficult and important part of taking advantage of energy-saving services and products isn’t the technology, or even the investment. It’s changing your belief that energy efficiency is something you can do in a few years, or that some new incentives will come along some day. You have got come to the conclusion that the best time to stop wasting energy and putting up with equipment that can hurt your operations is today, this minute. And there are so many reasons why.
Who Cares About Your Sustainability?
It’s obvious that you’ll be happy to save money by cutting energy use and costs. But that’s only one benefit. Plenty of people who matter to your business will also notice your efforts and appreciate you taking the step to upgrade your stores and to be more energy efficient and sustainable. And impressing them could be key to your success.
Customers will be the first to notice. Your brighter, more comfortable stores with better-functioning coolers and other differences will simply be better places to shop. And if you can demonstrate that you’re saving energy and producing fewer emissions, they’ll be glad to know that, too. Improving the shopper experience is key to attracting and retaining customers, from late-night drive-bys to weekly and daily regulars. And having a green image of sustainability is highly valued by more and more customers, especially younger and higher-income ones.
And don’t overlook what an energy efficiency transformation can mean to your employees. Creating a brighter, more comfortable place to shop also means making your stores easier and safer places to work. That can be key to employee satisfaction and retention. Also, energy management systems that use sensors, timers, and smart meters will take tasks off your employees’ shoulders. They also ensure that you don’t have to rely on your staff remembering to hit switches and adjust thermostats.
Your Insurance Carrier
If something happens to your freezer or coolers, it’s important to have a digital record and warning ahead of any damage to food or deviation from corporate standards. And in the unfortunate event of a mishap based on equipment failure, the history data will help with claims and showing the adjusters exactly when and what happened to create a loss.
Lighting, food safety, building codes – your business has to comply with many laws and regulations. It may soon have to comply with even more. A growing number of states and localities are tightening their standards of energy efficiency and setting very tough maximum levels for “intensity” – which means total energy use per square foot – for commercial facilities. Some are applying emissions and energy usage requirements once applied only to new construction to all buildings or applying “ratings” to how environmentally friendly a business is.
Are you ready run your stores in the required manner, and provide documentation to prove it? If not, you may face fines and public image issues from a posted “low” rating. So, that big investment in upgraded technologies and ongoing services to improve your stores’ sustainability could be making a lot more sense.
But amazingly, you might not actually need to make that investment at all. There’s a new kind of energy management firm which can make the technological and logistical aspects of profitable sustainability easy, even effortless.
An Effortless Sustainability Solution
Budderfly is a unique energy solutions firm. They offer convenience store operators a simple, powerful solution to sustainability issues. Budderfly assumes complete responsibility for your improved and ongoing efficiency, including upgrading your facilities with LED lighting, high-performance HVAC, improved refrigeration, 24/7/365 energy monitoring, streamlined billing, and detailed usage, savings, and operational data.
Budderfly has extensive experience in the Convenience Store industry, and the success of this approach has made Budderfly the 10th-fastest-growing company in the USA, and the #2 energy company in the Inc. 5,000 in 2020.
As with any partnership or vendor contract, you should fully vet any company before doing business. Check the past performance of Budderfly or any other potential partner in C-Store locations and require that any vendor assume 100% of the risk for ensuring the contracted energy efficiency and sustainability increases are achieved.
Whatever means you may choose to make your stores greener and more sustainable, doing nothing is simply not a smart option when you are wasting energy every day. Improving your sustainability is a process that pays for itself – literally. It begins the moment you take action, in so many different ways. So, if you haven’t started your energy efficiency transformation yet, now is the time.
For more information, visit www.budderfly.com.
Sponsored content by Budderfly