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Improving the Energy Efficiency of a Retail Store

May 17, 2018

Experienced retailers know that offering comfort to customers means they’ll feel encouraged to stay longer in the shop and spend more than they may have initially planned. Keeping your retail space well-maintained, lit and climate-controlled might sound wasteful and expensive, but there are ways of trimming down the costs and still having an energy-efficient, cost-effective and inviting environment.

Lighting control

Having bigger control over the lighting can cut your energy bill by 30%, so consider using motion sensors for spaces with less traffic, such as storage and back offices. You’ll still have abundant illumination, but at a far less cost.

There’s a large variety of motion sensors available at most hardware stores, so you can choose the right type to secure your business the highest savings. For instance, there are vacancy sensors that are often used in storerooms and toilets which switch off when the room is empty, but need to be turned on once you enter. A bit more expensive version is a dual occupancy/vacancy sensor that detects motion and is automatically switched on when people enter the room, and switched off when they leave.

Programmable thermostat

Installing a digital programmable thermostat allows you to control heating and cooling during all 24 hours at the levels you deem appropriate. It offers a setting option, so it heats/cools the store before you arrive in the morning and adjusts the temperature around closing time. In this way, your air-conditioning system uses less energy after hours.

Other options may include specific settings for different days during the week, such as Saturday afternoons and Sundays. For retail stores located in regions with a mild climate, if you lower the temperature by 10 to 15 degrees over an eight hour period, you could save up to 15% on your heating bill.

When purchasing a programmable thermostat for your business, make sure its capacity is adequate for your store’s size and install it on the interior walls, avoiding exposure to direct sunlight and draft from open windows and doors. Also, do not block the thermostat with large furniture pieces as the natural air flow will be blocked, and this will cause inaccurate temperature readings.

Serious upgrades

Preventing drafts by installing a revolving or automatic door can be of great help in reducing the loss of temperature-controlled air every time your customers come in and out of the store. Revolving doors lose eight time less air than the traditional doors, and the automatic ones have tight seals and limited opening time, which also contribute to the reduction of the amount of outside air that is let in.

These doors are a great aid in controlling your energy consumption, but if you’re looking for more serious savings, you should consider combining several energy-efficient improvements by opting for commercial energy upgrades. In this way, you’ll get more for your dollars’ worth and significantly improve not just the safety, comfort and value of your property, but also your cash flow. With aided PACE financing, you won’t need any money down, you’ll get a differed first payment up to a year or more, and property tax-based financing.

With this kind of help, there will be no obstacle to getting your roof replaced, enhanced heating/cooling equipment, or any other improvement that will lower your energy, maintenance and operation costs.

Lower usage during off-hours

Just as many homeowners do, retailers also have a bad habit of leaving all the electronic devices plugged around the clock assuming they consume very little energy in sleep mode. However, this is not true as inactive appliances accumulate up to $19 million in electricity cost a year all across the USA. Your best option as a retail owner is to adopt a policy of cutting the power to all your devices in store before calling it a day. This is easily done by a multi-outlet power strip that lets you switch everything with one single move.

There are some exceptions to the rule, such as safety night lighting used to deter burglars. In this case, replace all fluorescent and incandescent light bulbs with LED light, which are far more cost-effective.

An enhanced shopping experience is what retail owners resort to in order to attract customers. Making a few small but crucial steps towards upgrading your store into an energy-efficient hub will not only improve your business, but it will also add value to your property and give a large contribution to environmental preservation.

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