A Grocery Store’s Guide to Improve Energy Efficiency

Transcritical CO2

Recommissioning and energy incentives

Supermarket News, November 17, 2015. Image credit: mordyth

Improving energy efficiency is imperative to protect grocers’ already thin profit margins, and recommissioning — restoring a system to its original designed specifications — is one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce energy consumption and improve system performance and the store environment.

Approaches to recommissioning

In the Advanced Energy Retrofit Guide for Grocery Stores, the DOE recognizes store recommissioning as the foundation of an effective energy-efficiency strategy. It can differ in frequency and scope across stores, but however it’s implemented, there are gains to be had.

Whole-store recommissioning: According to the DOE a full-building tune-up can reduce energy usage by an average of 16 percent. Put another way, simply restoring a building to its original design specifications can reduce the electric bill by a median of $0.29 per square foot. Periodic recommissioning on this scale is the best way to ensure the building as a whole is performing optimally. At the very least, it should be done as a follow-up to any major change that impacts how a facility performs, such as installing new refrigeration display cases, systems or other equipment, retrofitting open cases with doors, and general remodeling.

A systems approach: Taking a staged or systems approach can be a good alternative for a given store or chain. Because refrigeration accounts for the lion’s share of total energy use across the food retail industry, starting here typically yields the greatest energy savings.

Identifying other energy improvement opportunities: The recommissioning process not only restores a facility and its systems to optimal performance standards, it also identifies additional improvement opportunities in refrigeration, lighting, and HVAC systems, which together account for 90 percent of total energy use across grocery stores. Improvements from a recommissioning effort focusing on these areas typically pay for themselves in about a year.

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