Energy Efficiency in the Retail Sector
As the world changes and people are more accustomed to the comforts of online trading, retailing becomes more aware of the advantages of closing stores and doing business over the Internet. Owning large warehouses to store their goods instead of the usual malls that we still like shopping at seems to be the trend. However, this trend is not yet strong enough to neglect retail as one of the most important sectors of the economy and one of the largest energy consumers as well.
In retail the need for merchandise that looks attractive, together with convenient facilities to make guests feel pampered, requires that shops use a lot of lighting and have strong HVAC systems to maintain comfortable temperatures. A piece of merchandise that is not well lit will not be easy to sell, while customers who are cold will shorten their visits, being discouraged to stay longer and, therefore, they will buy less. However, if this energy usage is not consumed in a responsible manner it leads retailers to waste resources and facing astronomical bills for energy while harming the environment.
Of the almost 5 million commercial buildings in the U.S., retail buildings account for nearly $20 billion in energy spending each year and are also responsible for the second largest percentage of greenhouse gas emissions, leading to global climate change. Retailers must be made aware that by becoming energy efficient they can increase the comfort of customers and the productivity of their employees, saving money at the same time. It is very important that stores check their energy costs, evaluating them with the tools that are now available, to realize how high is the energy spending is, how to downsize it and how taking small actions, like using EcoCOOL® in their HVAC systems, can increase their profits.
These are some ideas to start saving energy, according to Energy Star:
- Establish an effective operations and maintenance program to identify and address equipment issues before they become energy-wasting problems.
- Calibrate thermostats to ensure that their ambient temperature readings are correct.
- Set back thermostats in the evenings and at other times when the building is unoccupied and adjust the temperature for seasonal changes.
- Take advantage of skylights or other natural daylight sources to reduce lighting during daytime hours.
Saving Energy costs at Retail Stores
These are actions that represent no cost to any store or commercial building, but that start saving energy and money instantly. Other steps, like the use of EcoCOOL®, can be very cheap and provide a great return to your investment. Retail will be around for a long time to come. Let’s make it friendly.