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29 July 2014

Energy Saving Tips … Retail

Posted By: AIB Business

An average grocery spends €4-€5 per square foot in energy costs per year. That annual power bill equates to 1% of the total operating cost BUT perhaps 100% of the average profit margin. The savings possibilities from energy efficiency are therefore quite dramatic. 

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, every dollar of energy savings can equate to increasing sales by $59. That means a 20% reduction in energy costs can mean a 20% increase in profits!


Heating and Air Conditioning

Heating and air conditioning can account for 40-60% of your energy usage. A few simple modifications can reduce this:

  • If you have more than one boiler, you may be able to turn one off in summer to cut water heating costs.
  • In winter, do not be tempted to overheat your store – switch off heating when a temperature of 19°C has been reached. Reducing the temperature by just 1°C can cut fuel consumption by 8%, according to the UK’s Carbon Trust. Don't forget: customers are likely to be wearing outdoor clothing and there is a risk of them being uncomfortably warm –and therefore spending less time browsing.
  • In summer, do not be tempted to overcool the store. Hold off using cooling systems until the temperature exceeds 24°C. Customers are likely to be lightly dressed and hence may become uncomfortably cool and spend less time browsing.
  • Try switching off the heating or air conditioning an hour before closing. Staff and customers are unlikely to notice the difference in that time.
  • Ensure that any entrance over-door heaters or air curtains are switched off outside trading hours. Fit a 7-day time switch if necessary.
  • Ensure heating, ventilation and extraction controls match your trading hours and do not run unnecessarily outside of these hours.


  • Install energy efficient lights. Compact fluorescent and LED products that use 80% less energy could replace conventional lamps. Also, because these lights generate less heat, they put less strain on your air conditioning systems.
  • Use time switches or daylight controls to regulate lights outside trading hours. Many retailers leave lights on throughout the night for security reasons. Lighting control ensures they switch off the next morning.
  • Upgrade lights throughout the store. Quite often the public front-of-house lighting is upgraded but back of house (such as store areas and offices) are neglected. Also consider motion detectors to control lights, remove any lamp diffusers and utilise energy efficient lamps or LEDs.


  • When considering replacement units, think about choosing those that are energy efficient. Depending upon use, the energy savings of an efficient unit can soon outweigh any additional capital costs –typically recouping the difference in less than 12 months. Ideally, also consider units that have clear doors or that can accommodate night blinds.
  • Avoid setting temperatures too low.
  • Do not overfill the shelves in your fridges. Only chill as many products as you think you will need.
  • Check the seals on your fridges, freezers and cold rooms. If you can easily pull a piece of paper through the seal when the door is closed, your seals need work.
  • Where illuminated cabinets have the facility to switch off lights, switch lamps off out of hours. This reduces energy for the lamps and for chilled cabinets, and reduces the energy used to keep the cabinet cool.
  • Turn fridges off after hours if they store only non-perishable goods such as carbonated drinks.


Written by: ResourceKraft  – supplier of enterprise energy management systems


If you require finance for energy-saving projects, talk to AIB today


See also:

Outlook: Energy Efficiency for Business 
Energy costs have a significant impact on every SME in Ireland. Reducing energy consumption saves SMEs money, and those savings go straight to the bottom line. This report analyses energy consumption, the understanding of energy bills and the appetite to undertake energy initiatives to reduce costs.

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