When it comes to energy efficiency, retailers are on a roll. Convenience store chain Wawa announced last year that it saves over $1 million a year in energy costs thanks to an LED lighting retrofit. Nationwide department store Kohl’s saved $50 million in energy costs over four years and has continued to improve its energy performance with lighting and energy management systems upgrades. As a result, Kohl’s claims, “we have one of the lowest energy usages per square foot in the retail industry.”
Walgreens, the country’s largest drugstore chain, recently completed lighting retrofits at 80% of its locations nationwide. The company said this change not only saves money, but also improves the customer experience: “Colors appear more vibrant and more like they would in daylight, so customers don’t need to second guess themselves in the cosmetics aisle.”
For retailers like these, energy efficiency offers an edge over their competitors. It’s about the bottom line, pure and simple.
Welcome to High Efficiency, a new column from Energy Trends Insider. I’m your columnist, host, and resident energy-efficiency-obsessed individual, Allison Asplin. (You might remember me from my article in Eli Hinckley’s Banking Energy column, “Why Energy Efficiency and Buildings Don’t Mix.”)
First a little about who I am and what I do.
I spent eight years eating, sleeping, and breathing commercial real estate, first in brokerage at a leading global real estate services firm, then as a development manager and regional sustainability director for one of the country’s largest REITs.
Grappling with the energy performance challenges of an 80-building portfolio whetted my appetite for efficiency work, and I bolted for grad school to study energy policy. As a newly-minted Master’s degree holder, I accepted a fellowship with Bloomberg New Energy Finance to study the barriers to energy efficiency in real estate in depth. Through that research, I concluded that utilities are a crucial part of the charge toward energy efficiency, leading me to my current work evaluating energy efficiency and efficiency financing for utilities, governments, and private companies at environmental consulting firm The Cadmus Group.