By U4L energy expert, Chris Spires:

Saving energy is a challenge for any organisation, but within the hospitality sector, where there’s an inherent need for high energy usage, it can be difficult to see where savings can be made. Despite this, the Carbon Trust estimates that organisations could cut their energy bills by up to 20% by just making simple changes to their energy usage. Beginning with these simple changes  to save energy in retail is the best place to start for many businesses.

#1 Choose energy efficient lighting

Lighting is an important consideration, not only in terms of the way that products are presented in-store, but how the areas outside of the shop floor are lit to keep employees safe. Tungsten light bulbs have been used traditionally because of their brightness and directional capabilities. However, they’re not very energy efficient and don’t last for very long.

Alternatively, compact fluorescent lamps and LED lights provide the same benefits of Tungsten lights, but use up to 80% less energy and endure for a lot longer. Choosing these types of lamps and replacing old, blackened or failed ones will immediately incur both energy and cost savings.

Also, by thinking strategically about how you can have greater control over your lighting in different areas of the venue, you can start to reduce the amount of energy that you consume. For example, by installing automatic detectors into the back areas (e.g. the stockroom and staff toilets) a business can save up to 50% on lighting costs as energy is only used when it is needed, not just needlessly wasted. Using time switches and daylight controls to regulate energy usage outside of trading hours also reduces wasteful energy usage.

#2 Promote better HVAC usage 

Heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems are the second biggest cause for the majority of energy usage within retail. HVAC units are efficient and make controlling the in-store temperature easier for managers and owners, however the energy that they use will be wasted if it’s not made efficient use of.

Setting realistic temperatures that won’t leave shoppers feeling uncomfortable is the simplest way to ensuring efficient energy usage. According to the Carbon Trust, reducing the temperature by just 1C can cut fuel consumption by 8%. In the winter, it’s recommended that you set your thermostat at 19C, in the summer, customers will be wearing light clothing so it may not be worth cooling the shop down too much.

Also, keeping doors closed all year round will ensure that the temperature remains optimum and that extra energy isn’t used needlessly. Installing timer switches and programming the HVAC systems to work around store hours will also prevent wasteful energy usage. Try turning off your heating or air-conditioning an hour before the store closes, as customers and workers are unlikely to notice this.

#3 Change employee behaviour

Even if you’re a shop manager, it’s impossible for you to be everywhere at once checking that all of your employees are switching the light off when they leave the store room. Having a business-wide initiative around effective energy usage is bound to make it more successful.

Training employees in how to use the lighting and HVAC systems correctly and efficiently, drawing up an energy plan and establishing targets will all encourage them to get on board the initiative with you. Also, reporting the successes of your energy saving initiatives will show that they’re productive and encourage employees to continue their work.

How U4L can help;

Have a plan but need a helping hand? Why not get in touch for a free consultation? Our expert team can work with you to formalise energy management strategies offering end-to-end support, from energy procurement, right through to ongoing management, reduction and compliance.

Collectively, our team boasts 40 years in the industry

U4L works with 200+ businesses in our home town of Bournemouth, and over 1,000 nationally. We offer a friendly, face to face service. Would your business benefit from a complimentary energy audit? We’re based at This Workspace (the old Print Rooms) in the town centre. Feel free to pop in and see us fr a coffee!

Get in touch today;
T: 01202 800 200