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Easy and Inexpensive Energy Saving Tips for Supermarkets

Freshness Isn't Free FRESHNESS ISN’T FREE

As the place your customers depend on for their grocery shopping, two important items on your energy checklist are keeping the lights on and the food cold. In fact, lighting and refrigeration make up between 44 and 77 percent of your total energy use depending on climate1. But what steps can you take to help reduce that energy usage without disrupting your store’s bottom line?

At Direct Energy Business, we want to help you buy less of what we sell. While energy spending usually represents only about one percent of the total costs for supermarkets, that amount is about equal to an average grocery store’s profit margin. Imagine boosting your profits by 10 percent simply by reducing energy use by the same proportion2.

If you’re exploring ways to better manage your store’s energy costs, we’d like to offer you some helpful tips for no- or low-cost remedies.

Embrace the Off Switch EMBRACE THE OFF SWITCH

Few energy fixes could be simpler. Turning off lights and other equipment like cash registers, computers, deli scales and cooking equipment can create significant energy savings with one simple motion. For other equipment, consider installing “smart” power strips that can sense occupancy and turn themselves off when no one is around.

Train employees to turn off the lights in rooms that aren’t in use. If your supermarket is open 24 hours, consider dampened or dual-level lighting for low-traffic periods.


  • Start with the Temperature – Changing the settings on your store’s thermostat can make a huge difference in the amount of energy you use. During times when your store is closed, set the thermostat temperature higher during cooling seasons and lower during heating seasons. In other areas – such as offices, storerooms and warehouses – make sure temperatures are set to use the minimum amount of energy.
  • Keep Things Clean – Changing HVAC filters every month keeps air flowing freely through the system so it doesn’t have to work as hard. Consider changing filters more often if your store is located in a heavily polluted area, near major highways or construction sites. Dirty condenser coils also force the system to work harder than it should, so check them every quarter for debris. Schedule a thorough cleaning for the coils at the beginning and end of each cooling season.
  • Go Up on the Roof – There are a number of ways rooftop HVAC units can cause you to use more energy without even realizing it. If your store’s HVAC units include economizers – dampered vents that let in outside cool or warm air to supplement the system – check to make sure they’re not stuck in the fully open position. Engage a licensed technician to regularly examine the system and make any required repairs. Also, have a technician check quarterly to make sure HVAC cabinet panels are secure and that there’s no leakage of chilled air. Repairing leaky cabinet panels can potentially save you up to $100 annually.3
  • Evaluate Your Vents – Regularly check supply and return vents for airflow and temperature. Inadequate airflow from your vents can mean dirt is clogging the register or ductwork. Insufficient temperature difference between air going into your returns and coming out of your supply registers can indicate problems with the unit. In either case, have a licensed technician investigate the problem.


Install an energy monitoring system such as the Panoramic Power™ Energy Monitoring Solution, which uses small wireless sensors to track how individual systems and machinery use electricity. Panoramic then uploads the information to the cloud, where it’s available to you in real time through an easy-to-navigate desktop or mobile interface. Understanding how your systems use power can be integral in identifying areas where energy is being wasted or where operations can be made more efficient.

These are just a few easy steps you can take to help your grocery store run more efficiently and save money. For more energy saving tips or to find out how Direct Energy Business can help you, contact us today.

1,2 National Grid E Source Customer Direct, “Managing Energy Costs in Grocery Stores,” 2002, E Source Companies LLC

3 National Grid E Source Customer Direct, “Managing Energy Costs in Grocery Stores,” 2002, E Source Companies LLC


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