In this day and age, energy efficiency is becoming a higher priority for many c-stores, and moves are being made to accommodate, such as installing light-emitting diode (LED) lighting, solar panels and high-rated Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) HVAC units.
Stores such as Stewart’s Shops, Go Time, Neon Marketplace and Sheetz all either already or plan to install LED lighting in their fixtures. LEDs release smaller amounts of heat than incandescent and compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs and have a reduced need for reflectors and diffusers, all which contribute to LEDs’ energy-saving capacity, according to Energy Saver.
Go Time uses the highest-rated SEER HVAC units available, along with spray insulation to achieve the highest R-value — the level of resistance to heat flow of an insulating material. Sheetz also uses high-efficiency HVAC units, as well as alternative refrigerants and advanced Building Automation Systems.
Another energy-saving technique c-stores can investigate is hydroelectricity. Stewart’s Shops offsets its energy usage at 10 Vermont shops through the use of hydroelectricity.
Is Solar the Future?
Solar panels are becoming more widespread in all spaces.
According to the Department of Energy, solar performance and efficiency is calculated by the percentage of solar energy shining on a photovoltaic (PV) device that is then converted into usable electricity. This conversion efficiency can be affected by wavelength, recombination, temperature and reflection.
High efficiencies can be realized with solar cells that are designed with these factors in mind, and consequently, allow PV technologies to be cost-competitive with standard energy sources.
Stewart’s Shops’ plant has over 2,400 individual solar panels on the roof. These supply 75% of the power to 50 of its locations. Two offsite Stewart’s locations in New York also provide solar energy.
Sheetz also embarked on a solar energy plan, receiving approximately 110 million kilowatt hours of energy per year from supplier of power and energy services Constellation’s long-term power purchase agreements, which were to procure 55 megawatts of solar energy.