According to ENERGY STAR, retailers represent the largest component of energy use of commercial facilities in the US, spending $20B annually on energy. Moreover, the Energy Information Agency (EIA) reports that smaller commercial facilities use, on average, 30% more energy per square foot than their larger counterparts. Retail facilities under 10,000 square feet, typically referred to as “small box” retail, use less energy per square foot than similarly sized facilities in food service and food sales, but more than many other commercial building types.
Heating, cooling, and lighting are the dominant energy uses in small box retail, although the split varies widely based on climate. The chart on the right is taken from the Energy Trust of Oregon, where cooling loads are not a major issue. This chart would look quite different in Texas or Florida.
Many retailers across the country have taken steps to try to reduce energy costs. With the tight margins that are typical of retail operations, the extra profits that result from an energy reduction program are quite welcome. But, for most retailers, there is much more that can be done to reduce energy costs.
Following is a 5 step approach to lowering energy costs in a small retail environment.