Don’t let income walk out of your business! Make some changes for less stressful electrical expenses.
- Three areas generate the highest cost on retail stores’ utility bills.
- Optimized lighting is a major potential money saver for retailers.
- Combining smart technology with regular maintenance is a powerful, cost-effective combination.
No matter your retail sector, your business is always buying electrical power. Commercial utility bills are often distressingly high, which can negatively impact overall operational costs. Thankfully, retailers aren’t completely at the mercy of the power company.
Commercial site managers can more effectively manage — and potentially reduce — their energy costs, while hopefully improving overall profitability and sustainability. Read on for expert advice and actionable strategies retailers can use to enhance energy efficiency, be pro-environment, and keep a little more in the bank!
Understanding retail electrical costs
Energy costs are an operating expenses retailers can’t avoid (along with rent and labor). National Grid data reveals that retailers spend an annual average of $1.21 on electricity per square foot of floor space. Heating, lighting, and cooling accounting for up to 84% of a retailer’s energy use.
It’s vitally important to analyze and monitor electrical usage focusing on those three key areas, especially during peak operating times. A great way to start is with a commercial energy audit – a top to bottom energy-consumption building analysis that will reveal where every cent of your utility bills goes, and the hours that cost the most.
It’s your first big step toward significant electrical savings and creating a more efficient, compliant, and comfortable retail space. We also recommend reading our guide to commercial energy inspections which explains the process in more detail and how your retail site can prepare.
Energy-efficient lighting solutions
Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are an illuminating choice for retailers in several ways. Firstly, there’s the ongoing cost savings after the initial installation, largely due to LED bulbs working longer while using less power. An LED bulb could provide 50,000 hours (about five and a half years) of reliable performance compared to 20,000 with other types of bulbs!
LED bulbs are resilient; they don’t have the fragile filaments and tubes that break so easily in other types. LEDs also burn cooler than fluorescent and incandescent bulbs, which means less heat within your retail space, which lowers cooling costs and makes staff and shoppers more comfortable.
Effective lighting management in retail spaces ultimately depends on their size and what kind of effect the retailer wants. An experienced electrician can help your retail space balance accent lighting and high contrast focus zones that grab front-window attention and gently attract throughout the interior.
LEDS’ technical and visual versatility creates any atmosphere you like in ways that won’t break the bank. Check out our review of the coolest LED trends to see how they positively impact retail spaces, and review overall tips on optimizing commercial lighting efficiency.
Implementing smart energy systems
Training employees to turn off anything not in use is a basic way to save (an average of $100 per 1000 kWh saved, according to National Grid). Make the building a team player!
A building energy management system (BEMS) adds a computerized element to commercial spaces that constantly monitor and control a site’s energy consumption. The metered data provided measures everything that uses electricity, combining with performance analysis to reveal where retail electricity is used inefficiently or excessively.
A BEMS can lower, increase, or turn systems on and off remotely. In occupied buildings, a BEMS can check room occupancy, corridors, and customer spaces, and then adjust electrical and environmental systems to compensate and supply only the electricity necessary.
Another example of small-scale, smart electrical operations is a smart thermostat which would automatically adjust site temperature. This can reduce the cost of HVACs running unnecessarily, especially if the site is empty. The Internet of Things means smaller scale smart devices are also connected wirelessly so retailers can manage electrical usage even when offsite.
Sustainable practices in retail operations
Sustainable practices such as adding solar panels also contribute to better cost management and reduced environmental impact. Florida’s retailers have no shortage of available solar power, so adding some panels to your store could be beneficial in the long run.
Fitting solar panels is space-sensitive and will cost more, depending on how many panels are required. This outlay may be eased by area-specific solar incentives. Ask your panel supplier and electrical contractor for more information.
Regular maintenance and upgrades
Consider system upgrades for long-term savings. Here in South Florida, businesses need efficient HVAC units to keep people comfortable and equipment running well. However, it takes an experienced electrical team to do this right.
At UES, we understand the implications of making changes or upgrades to HVAC systems, which could include important supplementary electrical work to accommodate alterations. We have years of experience in helping retailers fit cost-effective HVACs that will last for many years with proper maintenance.
The impact of regular maintenance on electrical system efficiency is our final point. Ongoing vigilance and care make any investment in your retail electrical operations pay off long-term and prevent unnecessary repetitive maintenance or premature, costly repairs or replacements.
Sumarizing retail electrical savings
Remember these key strategies: get an energy audit, and then optimize your heating, lighting, and cooling systems. There’s a considerable initial cost outlay, but the long-term return on investment can be very financially significant (not to mention significantly helping the environment).
The UES team can help your retail operations be electrically efficient. Call us at 954-792-5444 or connect via our contact form.