In Pursuit Of Supermarket Energy Savings

CHICAGO, IL — Folks making decisions about energy usage are finding out there is danger in too much delegating.

Smart energy efficiency programs require key players involved with store power consumption (such as those involved with refrigeration and air conditioning, as well as lighting) to “take control of changing energy markets.” That was the thrust of a joint presentation by John Seaburg of Energy & Environmental Services and Scott Moore of Albertson’s Inc., during this year’s Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Expo.

Seaburg pointed out that “Smart energy efficiency-focused programs can turn every dollar of energy saved to pure profit.” Such programs, he said, can offer total energy solutions, energy monitoring, benchmarking, commissioning, and a general understanding of typical store usage. He said such efforts should involve EPA’s Energy Star® program.

“Rates will continue to increase and supply problems will remain,” he said, noting that deregulation has not offered the solutions it promised.

“Energy resources are too important to your company to allow exclusive third-party control,” Seaburg warned. He urged those involved in energy issues “to select energy partners carefully and investigate incentives and rebate programs with utilities.”

An important step to take early in the process, he said, is “knowing your store energy performance benchmark and how major sector load profiles contribute to the overall load. This is vital in shaping strategies.”

Programs to consider include:

  • Developing a submetering strategy that covers primary sectors of energy usage;

  • Commissioning processes that are carried out by qualified service personnel most knowledgeable with mechanical and refrigeration systems operations;

  • Developing general awareness of how operational practices impact energy use and budgeting by store departments;

  • Utilizing efficiency operating results to establish performance criteria, as well as engineering and design of building and store equipment applications; and

  • Utilizing information from performance data and efficiency comparison calculations that can be extended to life-cycle costing programs.


    While two-thirds of operating costs relate to labor and supplies, fully one-third is energy and maintenance related, Moore said. He noted that a typical supermarket can have an electric bill totalling $250,000 per year, of which $160,000 is refrigeration related. HVAC adds another $53,000.

    “Energy costs are a headwind to companies,” Moore said. He urged decision makers to “control issues, as opposed to letting issues control the business.”

    There are two ways to save on energy, Moore said. One is to seek out supply-side initiatives when buying it; the other is demand-side initiatives that deal with how energy is used.

    Energy conservation within Albertson’s involves a wide range of departments such as finance, engineering, energy management, maintenance, architecture, construction, and store operations, Moore explained.

    He noted that energy upgrades are used in addition to store-level curtailment programs, such as dimming lights. Any new or remodeled stores, as well as existing store upgrades, are closely monitored for energy savings. Preventive maintenance is also figured in.

    Publication date: 10/07/2002

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