Energy efficiency is more than just upgrading the lighting to LEDs in and around your store.
But lighting is a good place to start. With recent advances in lighting and other sustainable materials, the initial cost is offset by future savings quickly, which is a positive as energy costs continue to rise.
“An LED upgrade can be a significant upfront cost, but the investment is realized over time due to the energy and maintenance savings,” said Mike Gilligan, owner of Gilligan’s Retail, which operates 11 stores in Arizona and Montana. “Lighting technology is constantly improving. Each generation of LED uses less energy and provides a better light. As the cost of energy and maintenance continues to rise, it is important to find these ways to save.”
Gilligan’s added LED lights in all areas of its stores. Switching to LED lighting brought cost savings and a benefit to its customers.
“LEDs bring an aesthetic benefit to the stores,” Gilligan said. “We want all our locations to be a welcoming, safe environment for our customers and one way of accomplishing that is by well-lit facilities.”
Safety and energy efficiency are two customer-friendly initiatives that go hand in hand, and lighting is just the start. Many building practices can also bring energy efficiency and cost savings.
“Kum & Go has been a leader in energy-efficient building practices. We recognize our environmental impact and are committed to reducing our consumption for the planet and the communities we serve,” noted Kum & Go Energy Manager Jason Parker and Vice President of Facilities Dan Childs. “We continue to evaluate new technologies in our building design and implement any best practices in our existing stores — LED lighting and controls, high-efficiency RTUs (remote terminal units), high-efficiency kitchen equipment and renewable energy.”
Building and energy management systems are one area in which companies can get started.
With more equipment becoming Internet of Things (IoT) enabled, Parker and Childs noted they have insight into equipment that they haven’t had in the past.
The future of energy efficiency is in practices that will help sustain natural resources and lower energy consumption.
“Innovation in refrigeration systems is growing increasingly important due to increased costs and environmental impact,” according to Parker and Childs. “The industry needs safe, reliable systems that utilize refrigerants with lower global warming potential.”
As convenience store companies look more toward water consumption and energy impacts, those looking to get started can focus on low- and no-cost projects, including monitoring equipment setpoints and preventative maintenance programs to maintain operational efficiency and low energy costs.