Energy Conservation for Grocery Stores - Thriftway | Energy Solutions

Thriftway Grocery Store

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Thriftway Grocery Store

Mange energy costs — and your bottom line — with energy-efficient solutions.

Grocery store veggies

Cash in on savings storewide

Industry leaders are making energy efficiency a business priority

Smart grocery store owners are making the most of new technologies to:

  • Reduce electricity bills and lower operating costs.
  • Make the environment more pleasant for both customers and employees.

And they can do this for less when they take advantage of rebates available for the purchase and installation of energy saving technologies.

Energy represents a major operating cost for grocery stores

  • Utility costs are the second largest non-labor expense in a grocery store, after rent.
  • In a typical grocery, refrigeration and lighting represent up to 78% of total energy use, making both systems good
    targets for savings.
  • According to ENERGY STAR®, a 10% reduction in energy costs can boost profit margins by as much as 10%.

Take control of your overhead expenses

With one phone call you can get the information you need to start saving energy — from the check-out lanes to the loading docks. Read on for some simple, easy-to-implement ideas on how to save energy in your stores.
Grocery store


Refrigeration accounts for approximately 60% of the average grocery store’s electricity expense. Keep costs down while maintaining product quality with these energy-saving measures:

  • Refrigeration controls. These controls can optimize energy efficiency by maintaining the ideal freezer or cooler temperature.
  • Anti-sweat heater (ASH) controls. When you install ASH controls on refrigerated display cases, heaters run only when necessary, rather than all the time. You can reap energy savings up to $700 annually on a 10-door frozen food case and $525 on a 10-door beverage case.
  • Night covers. Add night covers to open cases to save energy costs while the store is closed. On a 24-foot upright case, you can save an estimated $336 annually; on a 12-foot case, savings can add up to $240 per year.
  • Electronically commutated motors (ECMs). Install ECMs in refrigerated display cases and walk-in freezers and coolers to reduce energy costs by up to 30%.
  • LED (light-emitting diode) case lighting. Replace fluorescent lighting in refrigeration and freezer cases with LED case lighting, offering advantages in increased visibility and light uniformity. You’ll also lower maintenance costs, since you don’t have to replace ballasts and the bulbs last up to ten times as long.
  • Flexible insulation doors. These doors keep cool air in — and warm air out — of walk-in freezers and coolers. They provide easy in-and-out access for employees when the main doors must remain open during loading and unloading — without losing a lot of energy.


Lighting is critical to creating ambience and making merchandise attractive to shoppers. High-quality, energy-efficient lighting can drive sales and cut costs on your electricity bill at the same time. Money-saving upgrades include:

  • Lighting control systems. Central control lighting systems, combined with occupancy sensors, make sure that lights turn off when no one is in a low-use area (like a stock room). These systems feature schedulers and dimmers, which will lower light levels while the store is closed but staff are working, and ensure that lights are turned off at the appropriate times.
  • T-8 lighting. Replace outdated T-12 florescent lights with newer T-8 fixtures that last up to twice as long and use up to 35% less energy. Newer fluorescent offer warm colors and a consistent light quality. T-8 lighting makes shopping more pleasant and decreases both lighting and cooling costs.
  • Indoor LED lighting. Replace energy-intensive halogen track or spot lighting with lower-consuming LED or compact florescent light bulbs (CFLs). LED lighting generally lasts up to ten times as long as halogen and the payback is typically less than one year.
  • LED exit signs. Replace exit signs with efficient LED exit signs to lower maintenance costs.
  • Parking lot and outdoor lights. Add photoelectric sensors to turn lights on only when necessary, and use lower wattage bulbs so that customers’ eyes can adjust from highly lit to dark areas. Consider using metal halide or LED lighting, focusing light where needed. This approach can both save money and increase the safety of your customers.

Heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems (HVAC)

Your HVAC system represents a major opportunity to save energy. Our energy analysts will work with you to evaluate the efficiency of your current system components and recommend energy- and money-saving technologies. Here are some ways you can improve your existing HVAC system:

  • Economizers. Economizers mix outside air with the indoor temperature to get the desired temperature while using the least amount of energy.
  • Maintenance and commissioning. Periodically recalibrate your HVAC and refrigeration systems’ set points when they get off track.

Grocery store

Maintenance tips

Simple things count! Routine maintenance on your equipment and building can add up to significant energy and cost savings.

  • Turn things off. It’s important to train your staff to turn lights and devices such as computers, cash registers and deli equipment off when they’re not in use. Universal power strips provide an easy way to turn several devices off at once.
  • Turn things down. For equipment that cannot be turned off, consider turning it down to the lowest level possible. ENERGY STAR®recommends setting freezers between -14° and -8° F, and setting refrigerators between 35° and 38° F.
  • Keep doors shut. Be sure to keep your cooler doors shut to maximize energy savings. Install automatic door closers to keep the cold air from leaking out of cases.
  • Conduct regular maintenance. It’s important to perform scheduled maintenance throughout your store to keep things running efficiently. Keep your evaporator coils clean and free of ice build-up. Adjust door latches. Seal doors. Replace worn door gaskets. Repair damaged or broken auto-closers. Change filters. Continually check temperature settings throughout the store.
  • Paint your roof. Painting the roof of a grocery store with white or other highly reflective paint can reduce the energy required for summer cooling by 25 to 65%. It will also increase the life of your roof.

Seattle City Light rebates pay up to 70% of project costs for adopting energy-saving technologies.

Read the full Grocery Overview PDF.