Here are some top tips for you to take on board to be energy efficient:
Convenience stores come in all shapes and sizes, so they have different energy needs based on the facilities and equipment they use.
The first step is to create a simple energy management plan. It doesn’t need to be a huge, complex document – just a simple-to-follow set of tasks which become a standard procedure.
Aman and Joga Uppal, owners of One Stop Mount Nod in Coventry, developed a plan before giving their store a complete refit to increase their range. Despite increasing fridge space considerably, new energy-efficient chillers have contributed to lowering their energy costs.
Retailers should all train everyone working in the store on energy efficiency, because this can help recover some of the profit margin you’ve lost by implementing the National Living Wage as well as effectively managing your utility bills.
Establishing a culture of caring about energy management in everyone working in your store is important if you’re to minimise your bills as effectively as possible. It just takes one careless person to leave a power-hungry device which doesn’t have to be run 24-7 on a few times for your energy plan to fail to achieve your target.
Try making a named person in the shop the ‘Energy Champion’ – responsible for delivering key points in your action plan such as switching off non-essential equipment at the end of the day.
If that’s a member of staff or family, see if you can identify a cheap or non-financial reward for them delivering the target savings i.e. a half-day off or a meal or cinema trip paid for by you.
Turning your thermostat down by just 1°C could save you up to 8% on your energy. The recommended temperature level for shops is between 19°C and 21°C.
For staff-only areas you need to ensure it’s above the Health & Safety Executive’s guideline of at least 16°C set out in the Approved Code of Practice of the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992.
A key part of your energy plan should be ensuring you have refrigeration and air conditioning systems which have been professionally planned and installed for minimum energy use and you have a maintenance schedule agreed – to keep them all at peak efficiency.
Fitting plastic strip curtains to keep cold air in refrigerated storage areas will also help.
Investing in a modern, energy-efficient refrigeration system will also help to reduce waste in the long-run.
James Lowman, Chief Executive of the Association of Convenience Stores, says refrigeration investments are key to maintaining a successful business.
“People want to shop more locally, but they want to be able to buy what they need to feed their families. This means produce in the fresh and chilled categories are essential. It’s hard to generate margins to afford wages and costs without investing in credible refrigeration.”
Jagjeet Hayre, who owns a Premier Express in Leicester Forest East, is having new slimline freezers which are more eco-friendly installed as part of an energy-saving plan. She’s also identified an added need to do this as well as a benefit of doing so – appealing to increasingly green-minded customers.
“Retailers need to be responsible because that’s the way the market’s going, not just for larger shops,” she said. “Making these changes will benefit us by keeping costs down and generating more income, but it’s also great to know we’re doing something good for the environment.”
SmartAir Solutions is an experienced independent air conditioning and refrigeration specialist servicing the industrial, commercial and marine sectors across Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Dundee. For more information please contact us directly.