Have you ever complained about the high energy usage in your favorite retail store? Chances are, you haven’t. The fact that customers don’t generally pressurize retailers into sustainability practices doesn’t mean they are not aware of the need to reduce energy consumption.
The 2013 Retail Sustainability Report by the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) which surveyed retail companies representing over 65,000 locations and US$ 1 trillion in revenue showed that almost every retail company is making energy usage as the top metric to track by 2015.
There are good business reasons to address energy consumption in your retail operation: estimates suggest that retail companies can increase net profits by 1.55% through a 10% reduction in energy usage. For supermarkets, the same quantum of reduction could lead to a 16% increase in net profits.
There are a number of ways for retail to manage energy consumption and target 10 to 25 % reductions even while keeping customers and employees comfortable, retail shelves attractive and without impacting operations.
Energy strategies can target efficient lighting, cooling and refrigeration systems, standardizing store formats, maintaining and managing ageing energy infrastructure, training employees in conservation measures, optimized lighting in parking lots, assessing better energy purchase options and upgrading or designing retail properties to deliver LEED standards and compliance. In grocery stores, refrigeration contributes between 44 and 80% of total energy consumption (depending on climate zone). Refrigeration is the most obvious target in grocery operations
The trend in retail is to adopt an energy management platform. For example, at Wipro, we have solutions that track energy consumption at a device level. The data is remotely analyzed in near real-time and corrective action initiated with the store after understanding the effects of weather, the impact on customers and employees and on in-store products. The good news is that these tools and technologies are increasingly becoming standard, so we can soon expect retail to look better when it comes to energy consumption.