Technology/Services

How Convenience Stores Can Save Energy—and Get Paid to Do So

No-cost LED light upgrades, HVAC enhancements, and 24/7/365 monitoring improve efficiency.
Photograph courtesy of Budderfly

Saving energy (and money) month after month through new technology and special programs is a promise that store operators have heard over and over again for a very long time. Over the last several years, that promise has become more realistic. Advances in LED lighting, freezer and refrigeration monitors and smart energy meters now make a big difference in monthly expenses at the stores where they are implemented.

But investing in these technologies and the services to source, install and support them isn’t cheap. Getting them to work together efficiently can be even more of a challenge. And, of course, there’s no guarantee that these technologies all really work well enough to and save money to justify the cost and effort in the long run.

Now, a new kind of energy management company is changing how convenience stores use and save energy. The term for a vendor such as this company is
Energy Efficiency as a Service, or EEaaS. These vendors combine financing, technology upgrades and 24/7/365 management and reporting into a single unified service. EEaaS is a powerful new model for convenience retailers and brands to get all the advantages of the best energy saving technologies without investing the money or the time. This might sound too good to be true, but it’s simply the way EEaaS works.

The way a reputable EEaaS vendor works is very straightforward and transparent. They first conduct an analysis of a customer’s current usage at pilot locations. Then, they provide a proposal that includes customized technology upgrades and monitoring/reporting services. A calculated reduction in energy usage is promised, and the EEaaS company assumes responsibility for sourcing, installing, maintaining and monitoring all the technology and analytics needed to make that reduction happen. A clear, monthly statement replaces the customer’s monthly energy bill, showing all results and usage and providing valuable, detailed operational data as well. The EEaaS company only profits by cutting their customers’ usage even more than the projected reduction, so they are highly incentivized to provide and maintain the technologies and methods that work best in their customers’ stores.

As part of their service, the top-tier EEaaS providers will include the following upgrades, all installed, monitored and maintained at no cost to the customer:

  1. Premium internal and external LED lighting systems.
  2. Dedicated monitors with alerts and alarms on key refrigerator and freezer units to stop energy and food waste.  
  3. Specialized systems for heated and cooled foods-to-go equipment and powered serving areas. 
  4. Multi-level upgrades to HVAC systems to boost efficiency and performance, producing a more comfortable, controlled store environment.
  5. Comprehensive sub-metering at all points of consumption to provide control from anywhere and stop wasted energy everywhere, with detailed reporting and analytics.

Convenience store retailers contracting with an EEaaS company should ask for a written guarantee that savings will begin immediately, and that there will be no out-of-pocket costs to the customer for the entire length of the relationship. A reputable vendor should also provide a written commitment to perform all maintenance and monitoring and to assume all project risk.

EEaaS can be an important part of reopening stores amid the current pandemic-related uncertainties, and of guaranteeing real savings in both the best and hardest of business cycles. Energy efficiency and cutting-edge technology aren’t just for the flagship stores anymore. Now, it can be real for every store.

Want to learn more? Click here to download the Guide to Real Energy Efficiency for Convenience Stores.

This post is sponsored by Budderfly

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