In fact, the average U.S. supermarket (50,000 square feet) spends upward of $250,000 annually in energy costs for refrigeration, air conditioning, heating, lighting, and other power needs.
When stores are designed, retailers focus on using the most efficient equipment available to keep these energy expenses as low as possible. In existing stores, operators routinely conduct chain-wide “commissioning” initiatives to evaluate equipment operations and reset them to optimal performance. However, as soon as the commissioning is complete or the new store is in operation, inefficiencies quickly start to slip back into the picture because of a lack of effective oversight of store infrastructure operations. A typical store might lose as much as 5 percent of its operational performance in a year without oversight.
Here’s how one supermarket chain in the United States is breaking this cycle:
Working with Emerson Climate Technologies, the nationwide chain has deployed Emerson’s Intelligent Store® solution to continuously monitor refrigeration, heating, cooling, and lighting systems at more than 1,000 of its stores.
As a result, the chain has maintained more than 80 percent of the efficiencies gained during a recent system-wide optimization effort, saving an estimated $7 million in energy costs over the past two years.
With Intelligent Store’s remote service offerings, Emerson monitors performance of heating, cooling, refrigeration, and lighting systems 24/7 from its state-of-the-art command centers in Atlanta and Manila in the Philippines. If the pressure changes in a rack compressor beyond set thresholds, if an air conditioning unit begins consuming more power than normal, or if store employees inappropriately change equipment settings, Emerson staff can immediately notify supermarket management, allowing repairs or adjustments to be made before efficiency takes a hit or, even worse, equipment fails.
Intelligent Store can even enable remote adjustments of equipment settings to mitigate issues when they occur. This element is a part of Emerson’s new Smart Dispatch service, which drives cost savings by reducing unnecessary dispatch events through in-depth analysis and remote resolution. For example, if Emerson monitoring personnel detect a malfunctioning air conditioning unit in a store in Oklahoma City at 7 p.m. local time, they can remotely turn up neighboring units to compensate until the faulty unit can be repaired during normal business hours.
Emerson’s Intelligent Store suite of efficient equipment includes a range of HVAC/R equipment, including variable frequency drives, compressors, refrigerated case controls, and store lighting controls. Emerson also offers consulting services to help retailers achieve maximum efficiency when designing and developing store facilities, as well as comprehensive commissioning or benchmarking existing store equipment against best practices.
All told, Emerson provides Intelligent Store remote services to more than 5,000 store locations across the United States, Europe, and Asia.
Intelligent Store services are configured to fit customers of all shapes and sizes, from a single store to 1,500-store chains, and cover retail segments ranging from supermarkets and convenience stores to big-box retailers and quick-serve restaurants. Remote services are available in countries spanning the globe. In many cases, Emerson can even help customers manage and monitor equipment from multiple providers.
When the full suite of Intelligent Store services is used, Emerson estimates that operators could reduce energy costs by as much as 20 percent to 25 percent per year, adding up to savings of as much as $100,000 per year, per store. If that’s not intelligent, we don’t know what is.