It is no surprise…retail businesses use technology and equipment that run off a lot of energy, causing high electricity bills and impacting the environment negatively. Therefore, retail stores must look at their current practices and make changes to become more energy efficient. In this article, we give three tips to retailers to improve their energy efficiency with the equipment they utilise.
The Retail Industry
The retail industry is responsible for approximately 25% of worldwide emissions, with a significant portion of these emissions arising from the retail value chain. Decreasing the carbon footprint of retailers and their value chains is essential in achieving global climate targets set by governments. In this sense, energy management has become an essential part of operating a successful retail business. Retailers are increasingly looking for ways to reduce their energy costs and improve their sustainability efforts, and energy management is a critical tool in achieving these goals. Effective energy management can help retailers identify areas of energy waste and inefficiency and implement solutions to reduce energy consumption and costs. In addition to cost savings, energy management can also improve a retailer’s brand image by demonstrating a commitment to sustainability and reducing the environmental impact of their operations.
Retail professionals can implement various energy management strategies, such as upgrading to energy-efficient lighting and equipment, implementing an energy management system, or training staff on energy-saving practices, among others. These strategies can help them reduce their energy consumption, lower costs, and improve sustainability. With the increasing focus on sustainability and energy efficiency, retailers that prioritise energy management will be better positioned for long-term success.
The Retail Industry in the UK
The retail industry in the UK is a significant consumer of energy, with an estimated annual energy spend of over £3.3 billion. The industry has a significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions, with an estimated 215 MtCO2e of emissions resulting from the lifecycle footprint of goods sold annually in the country in 2021. These emissions make the retail industry one of the most significant contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in the country, responsible for approximately 80% more emissions each year than all road transport combined.
Here are three ways retailers can be more energy efficient with the equipment they utilise:
Tips to become more Energy Efficient in Retail
1. Conduct an Overall Energy Audit
In today’s world, energy conservation has become a critical issue, and businesses are expected to play their part in reducing energy consumption and their environmental impact. An energy audit is an essential tool for achieving this goal, as it helps businesses identify and prioritise energy-saving opportunities.
When conducting an energy audit, experts evaluate various aspects of your store’s electrical system, including lighting, heating and cooling systems, appliances, and other energy-consuming devices. By analysing energy consumption patterns, the expert can determine which areas of your store are consuming the most energy and identify opportunities to reduce energy waste.
For instance, if the audit reveals that your store’s lighting system is using outdated, inefficient bulbs, the expert may recommend upgrading to energy-efficient LED lights, which can reduce your energy consumption and lower your electricity bills. Similarly, if your heating and cooling systems are not functioning optimally, the expert may recommend maintenance or replacement to improve efficiency.
A well-executed energy audit provides valuable insights into how your business can reduce energy consumption and save money on utility bills. By making informed decisions based on the audit’s findings, you can optimise your energy usage, reduce wastage, and improve your environmental impact.
Moreover, becoming energy-efficient not only benefits your bottom line but also enhances your business’s reputation as a socially responsible and environmentally conscious organisation. Customers are increasingly conscious of their environmental impact, and they tend to prefer businesses that demonstrate a commitment to sustainability.
In this sense, conducting an energy audit is a crucial step towards achieving energy efficiency and reducing environmental impact.
2. Focus on the Main Areas
As a retailer, you should definitely focus on four primary areas: water heating systems, HVAC systems, electrical equipment, and lighting:
- Water Heating Systems
Water heating systems should be regularly inspected for maximum efficiency. Setting the water heater temperature to 48°, for instance, can save between 6% to 10% on water heating costs per year.
Another effective strategy is to insulate hot water pipes to reduce heat loss during transportation. As a retailer, you can also consider installing on-demand water heaters that only heat water as it’s needed, rather than keeping a large volume of water constantly hot.
- HVAC Systems
HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) systems should use modern technologies like Variable Refrigerant Flow (VRF) systems and Energy Recovery Ventilators (ERVs) for optimal cooling based on external temperatures.
Although the cost of replacing your systems may seem significant at first, it should be seen as an investment that will quickly pay for itself. Did you know that by replacing an old HVAC system with a high-efficiency one you can save up to 20% on heating and cooling costs?
- Electrical Equipment
Electrical equipment, such as computers, cash registers, and refrigeration units, are essential to the operation of retail stores. Therefore, electricity usage from equipment used in retail stores must be carefully monitored and managed to minimise energy consumption. To do so, you can implement control systems to regulate voltage and frequency levels during peak hours, reducing electricity waste and improving the efficiency of electrical equipment.
In addition, instead of relying on employees to turn off devices, you can use power strips with timers to automatically shut off equipment during non-business hours or when not in use. Finally, retailers can optimise the layout of their stores to reduce energy consumption. For example, placing refrigeration units away from direct sunlight and other heat sources can reduce the energy needed to maintain a cool temperature.
Lighting plays an important role in creating a welcoming and attractive shopping environment, although it generally accounts for a significant portion of a retailer’s energy consumption. To be more energy efficient, you can start by using LED lighting, which uses up to 80% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and lasts up to 25 times longer.
Lighting in retail stores can also be made more energy efficient by utilising adjustable lighting controls, such as motion sensors and automatic dimmers, which can save between 20% to 30% on lighting costs. If this is not possible, as we mentioned earlier, focus on educating your staff: The fact that your employees understand and feel involved and aware of your energy reduction mission will allow you to reach your goals more quickly because they will likely be willing to make more efforts.
Additionally, and if possible, you should take advantage of natural lighting by maximising the use of windows or skylights to reduce their reliance on artificial lighting. By incorporating these strategies, retailers can significantly reduce their energy consumption, save money, and create a more sustainable shopping environment.
If each of these areas is given the attention they deserve, you can ensure that your operation remains competitive now and into the future while saving money and reducing your environmental impact.
3. Take advantage of Green Technology
Tech that has grown to be more energy efficient is an excellent way for retail businesses to go green and save money. Employing energy-efficient appliances, lighting, and equipment, such as solar-powered AI, can drastically reduce the energy used throughout the day. With new technological advances, retailers now have access to even more options, such as automated light shut-offs and temperature-regulated AI in case of room temp adaptation. Despite their initially higher costs, these investments can result in significant long-term cost savings for retail stores. Using green technologies available today is a surefire way for retail stores to save on unpredictable but potentially astronomical energy bills while keeping their customers satisfied.
By keeping these energy equipment ideas in mind and implementing some of them, your retail business will be well on its way to becoming more energy-efficient and sustainable. In addition, incorporating these changes into your everyday operations will show customers that your company is dedicated to making a difference in the environment. Start today and take small steps towards reducing your energy consumption.
This article is a courtesy of Taylor Thompson, Digital PR Specialist representing MicroTouch the global leader in capacitive touch solutions.
Note that some changes have been made to reflect Dexma’s style and tone of voice.
Why implement an Energy Management System?
The Dexma Platform will allow you to identify the areas and/or shops to prioritise when implementing energy-saving measures. In addition, you will be provided with an analysis of your consumption data in order to monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of your actions. It can help you detect consumption anomalies on your sites so that you can correct them immediately. We give you more details in this article dedicated to the use of technology to reduce energy costs in shops.