Call it a church revival or preaching to the choir, but when Joel Gilbert of Apogee Interactive gives the keynote talk at the upcoming Food Marketing Institute Energy & Technical Services Conference, he will be telling those who think they have done it all in terms of energy savings that there are still ways to do better.

“Even though you think you’ve done everything you can - and may be tired of trying to do even more - bills are still creeping up,” he said in an interview in anticipation of the Sept. 9-12 event in Denver. “So you still have to fight the good fight. And there are ways the battle can still be won.”

Gilbert, who is the CEO of the company that provides Web-based content and tools for energy-related issues, said his talk would deal with energy fundamentals and basics and how they can be utilized to find even more savings and cost-effectiveness.

“Technology can be sophisticated, but if it is not operating the way it should be, then it is not saving money,” he said.

“Maybe the refrigeration system is running the way it should be, but there is an issue with the lighting.

“So the question becomes, ‘How do you know how good you should be?’ ”

Such topics are critical these days, he said, because people can become “lulled into a false sense of energy price security.” He said price volatility will continue to challenge those involved in energy issues.

Another topic facing the industry - and to be covered in his talk - deals with green issues regarding the sustainability of Planet Earth. He said supermarkets need to put a greater emphasis on what they are doing in that regard and make sure customers are aware of those efforts.

He drew attention to how Wal-Mart Supercenters are both experimenting with energy and environmental innovations and drawing attention to those efforts.

In fact, as part of the FMI Energy Conference, attendees are scheduled to tour a Wal-Mart store in nearby Aurora, Colo., which has several dozen such innovations including a number in HVACR.

Those innovations, along with several dozen more in another prototype Wal-Mart store in Texas, are being monitored for those innovations which work best and can be incorporated throughout the chain.


Picking up on Gilbert’s theme, the conference is expected to include a report of FMI’s sustainability strategies, ways to assess an organization’s impact on the environment, and how to benefit from emission credits.

Technical reports will cover the use of CO2 as a refrigerant, secondary loop technology, and the latest trends in compressors.

Attendees will also get an update on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) refrigerant leak regulations, the EPA’s Green Chill Partnership, and standards that could affect the supermarket industry that are being considered by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

The conference will also include breakout sessions dealing with such topics as Refrigeration 101, HVAC 101, lighting, disaster recovery, technician shortages, tax incentives, energy-efficient distribution centers, electrical design, and condenser options.

In addition to the Wal-Mart store, tours are being planned for a Whole Foods Market, the Coors Brewery, and a power plant that is a coal-fired, steam electrical generating station.

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Publication date:08/06/2007