Energy Edge Solutions

Retailers Shopping for Energy Efficiency

Shopping malls and big-box retailers are often viewed as centers for spending and excess. However, many are making big energy changes behind the scenes that might surprise you.

The New York Times recently featured a story on how the Mall of America, the country’s largest shopping complex, continuously seeks ways to cut their energy costs through more efficient operations, including everything from skylights to air filtering systems and more.

“The Mall of America is among the many companies investing more in energy efficiency. For years, “conservation was sometimes seen as a penalty, a heavy cost, a cutting-back, a reduction in living standards, a form of self-denial,” Daniel Yergin wrote in his book The Quest: Energy, Security and the Remaking of the Modern World.

That view has changed, he and others say, because developing nations are consuming more of the world’s resources, leading to higher costs for all in a sluggish economy.

The United States uses only half as much energy for the same economic output as four decades ago, Mr. Yergin said. And while the economy has almost tripled in size, adjusted for inflation, total energy use has grown only about 30 percent, he said.”

Retailers Going GreenNot surprisingly, the article reports that retailers themselves use about 20 percent of the energy consumed by all commercial businesses, and they are the fastest-growing commercial category of energy users, according to the Energy Department.

Many are open seven days a week and for extended hours – some even round-the-clock. These companies need to take continuous temperature control, bright lighting, high-volume water usage and much more into consideration for the mass quantities of consumers that enter their buildings on a daily basis – it’s estimated that more than 40 million people visit the Mall of America every year.

So, how are they attempting to be more energy efficient? Three of the leading retailers taking strides to reduce their energy costs (and eco footprint in the process) include Walmart, Macy’s and the Mall of America.

  • Walmart – painting store roofs white to reflect sunlight and reduce the use of air-conditioning; capturing rain in storage tanks for flushing toilets and other uses that do not require potable water; installing LED lights in parking lots to cut energy use by more than 50 percent and maintenance by more than 30 percent.

 

  • Mall of America – installing more efficient air filters in its 33 mammoth cooling units, eliminating the need for more than 3,000 pre-filters to be changed each year, which reduces waste; instead of using a central heating system, the indoor temp of 70 degrees is maintained with 1.2 miles of skylights for solar energy, residual heat from light fixtures and body heat from visitors.

 

  • Macy’s – cut energy bill by 30 percent since 2002 by, among other things, adding sensors that automatically turn off lights in stockrooms; turning off signs at night and installing one million LED lights; centrally schedules and controls its lighting and air-conditioning and monitors energy use to spot waste.

 

We applaud the commitment to energy efficiency these retailers are making and hope that others will take note and follow suit. Any that are considering reducing their energy usage and costs are welcome to contact us for a free energy audit – we provide a risk-free look at how we can guarantee to help reduce your energy bills.

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