As these pie charts show, a typical convenience store's electric use is heavily tilted toward lighting (42%). The miscellaneous other (23%) can be challenging to work with, but is large enough to make it worth an attempt. Some of it could be for powering an air compressor, and where there are air compressors, there are often leaks that cause them to run excessively wasting energy. Food service (19%) and space conditioning (15%) are worth taking a closer look at too. The larger opportunity is likely the space conditioning. In climates where cooling is needed, be sure the windows are shaded or tinted to minimize solar heat gain. Many convenience stores have glass covering the entire front of the store.
You may see an ice machine or cold drink dispenser struggling to keep cool while basking in intense heat from the sun. Moving it or shading that window saves energy. Since most convenience stores have lots of refrigerated cabinets, check them for good door seals and closing mechanisms.
Convenience stores that use natural gas may have some potential for savings by improving the building envelope since almost 30% of their gas use is for space heating.
One tip for getting a feel for the facility energy use is based upon its square footage. As you can see in the table below, these are some ball park numbers for what annual energy costs might be for convenience stores of various sizes. Furthermore, the table gives a feel for how much savings potential might be in two systems if 20% savings were achieved.
Take a moment to think about the numbers. A 5,000 sq. ft. store might spend $6,000 annually on energy. If there were a project that could cut their lighting portion their energy budgets by 20%, they could save about $400 each year. A larger facility spending $12,000 annually on energy could have $2,000 to $3,000 savings from a similar measure.
In many cases, these measures have just a one or two year payback, so it's worth investigating. These savings keep on coming in future years and can be used to make the store more profitable and successful. Successful convenience stores are more likely to expand or open new locations, so you are helping not only the owners, but the community and your company as well.
Links to Related Topics