For convenience stores in Texas, a penny saved is a penny earned. The state sees summer temperatures that exceed 100 F, which drives up energy costs and can be crippling for convenience stores that often battle long hours of operation (many are open 24 hr.) and house quick-serve restaurants, as well as multiple refrigeration units. To make matters worse, the stores continue to see slowing growth of in-store food and merchandise sales, along with declining motor fuel sales.
An industry report by Convenience Store News reveals that convenience stores across the country experienced a rough year in 2013, with total sales down 1.1% and motor fuel sales down 0.2%. These numbers mark a troubling trend for the convenience store industry, and increasing numbers of operators are looking for ways to boost their bottom line – one of which is reducing their permanent operating expense.
Sugarland Petroleum, a large convenience store jobber in Southeast Texas that owns more than 30 stores throughout the state, turned to Energy Efficiency and Sustainability (EES) Consulting in Houston, Texas to assess the energy efficiency of two of its stores. A Shell store in Houston and Valero store in Humble, TX, were thoroughly inspected and evaluated to determine the efficiency of their HVAC, windows, refrigeration, and lighting systems.
To help Sugarland Petroleum realize the biggest bang for its buck, EES used its three-step “EESy Method” of assessment, implementation, and financing. EES first assessed the stores’ energy-efficiency needs and recommended solutions, implemented the solutions Sugarland Petroleum chose for the two stores, and then helped them pay for the retrofit using rebates and tax incentives.
EES consultants developed a customized solution based upon Sugarland Petroleum’s specific needs, including energy-efficient lighting, beverage-cooler motors with variable-speed controls, and efficient cooler door heaters.
Sugarland Petroleum implemented solutions that take a two-pronged approach to reducing energy usage: efficient lighting and refrigeration products that use fewer kilowatt hours to operate, while also decreasing the heat load on the store’s HVAC units. When the amount of heat that is generated inside the building through equipment heat output is reduced, that directly translates into less work that the HVAC unit must do to cool the building.
In the Shell store, the interior and exterior lighting retrofit included LED canopy fixtures, pole lights, ceiling-grid lay-in fixtures, and wall packs that resulted in a reduction of 102,990 kWh/yr. EES also retrofitted the refrigeration in the Shell store with door-heater cooler units, electronically commutated motors for walk-in coolers, and evaporator-fan controllers, resulting in an annual reduction of 8,828 kWh.
The Valero interior and exterior lighting retrofit used LED roadway streetlights, PAR30 lamps, Al9 lamps, ceiling grid lay-in fixtures, and wall packs for an even more impressive annual reduction of 129,258 kWh. By implementing the same refrigeration solutions at this larger store, usage was reduced by 29,742 kWh/yr.
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