Retailers leading DOE energy reduction programs

Retailers leading DOE energy reduction programs

Photo via Haverty's

The retail, food service, and grocery sector has been a leader in the U.S. Department of Energy's Better Buildings Initiative to make commercial, public, industrial, and residential buildings 20 percent more energy efficient over the next decade.

The sector faces a cumulative energy bill of $41 billion a year with diverse building types ranging from storefronts and warehouses to supermarkets and fast food restaurants. Overall, 900 participants in the initiative have saved $3.1 billion in energy costs.

The commercial service sector also faces a range of energy challenges, from energy-intensive refrigeration in supermarkets to radically shifting customer expectations and shopping habits.

Sector leaders are meeting these challenges by installing the latest advanced refrigeration technologies, building or retrofitting highly efficient (or even zero energy) distribution and fulfillment centers, and more. Program partners are also collaborating in the face of another common challenge: filling good-paying green-collar jobs designing, installing and maintaining complex HVAC and refrigeration, and energy management systems.

In the 2018 Better Buildings Progress Report, the DOE recognized partners who achieved the highest energy savings since their baseline year. Partners have reduced their energy intensity by an average of 2 percent per year, keeping them on track to meet the program’s 10-year, 20 percent reduction goal.

Challenge Partners with Greatest Energy Savings Since Baseline Year

Best Buy






Kohl's Department Stores


Whole Foods Market


The Wendco Group


Carlisle Corporation


The Wendy's Company


Wendium of Florida, Inc.




Life Time Fitness


Shari's Café & Pies





Energy saving strategies

Staples replaced 10,500 fluorescent lamps with LEDs and installed occupancy sensors in 810 offices at their corporate headquarters, reducing energy consumption by 1 million kWh annually, or more than 60 percent compared to the current usage and earning an award from the ILC.

Shari's Café and Pies upgraded interior and exterior lights to LED replaced energy and water intensive dipper wells with more efficient models, and installed a smart irrigation system at the Lynnwood, Washington location, achieving nearly 30% energy savings and over 40 percent water savings. This effort contributed to portfolio-wide water savings of more than 35 percent, surpassing the company's water goal

Haverty's launched the HVterra program to drive sustainable business practices and improve business processes in the areas of energy and waste management, building sustainability, store development, products sourcing, design and development, office automation and paper management, and associate education and engagement. The company invested in energy-efficient LED light bulbs, which demonstrated a significant return on investment leading the company to invest in a comprehensive multi-year re-lamping program. The conversion to LED bulbs helped reduce overall energy consumption against the base year of 2008 by 38 percent.

Also, the furniture retailer has invested high-efficiency HVAC units, energy management systems (EMS) and white roofs to help optimize energy efficiency across the portfolio. Smart meters at showrooms and facilities record electric consumption in 15-minute intervals to verify and measure the effectiveness of energy efficiency projects.

Partners in the Better Buildings Initiative are contributing to the more than 1,500 proven solutions now available online in the newly redesigned Better Buildings Solution Center. When partners share their energy and water savings strategies and results, they demonstrate their collective leadership by making it easier for others to replicate their success.

Topics: Building Owners and Managers, Energy Audit / Energy Management, Energy Saving Products, Lighting - Energy Efficient Lighting, Sustainable Trends and Statistics

Companies: U.S. Department of Energy

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