20,000 Sq. Feet
Annual cash savings: $ 4,800.00
Annual kWh savings: 1,429
Payback period (approx.): 36 Months
When you live in an area like Boulder, Colorado, where there is a view of the Rockies from every direction and the air is clean and fresh, environmental protection and energy conservation are not just catch phrases, they are a way of life. So when Boulder Bookstore owner David Bolduc was asked why he joined EPA’s voluntary ENERGY STAR for small business Program, he answered, “Why wouldn’t I?”
In 1991, Bolduc moved his 7,000-square-foot bookstore a half a block to a facility three times that size; however, the electricity bill only increased by one-third. Since the move, Bolduc has saved thousands of dollars in electricity bills per year - a plus for any retail owner. Bolduc’s upgrades earned the bookstore between $1,200 and $1,800 in rebates from its public service company, and Bolduc recouped his energy investment in just 3 years.
The old Boulder Bookstore was lit with mostly 40-watt, T-12 lamps with standard magnetic ballasts. When Bolduc moved, these lamps were replaced with 34-watt, T-12 fluorescent lamps with electronic ballasts. Additionally, Bolduc installed deep-cell ceiling fixtures with electronic ballasts, 17 metal halide 400-watt fixtures, and about 30 halogen flood lamps.
Bolduc is now upgrading the 34-watt, T-12s to energy-efficient 32-watt, T-8 fluorescent lamps with electronic ballasts. The T-8s, in addition to having a higher energy efficiency, maintain a higher color rendering index. These features, Bolduc says, are a must for lighting a retail establishment where product merchandising is important. Bolduc believes the brighter light levels enhance the appearance of the books, which probably keeps customers in the store longer, reading—and buying—his books.
In addition to upgrading the various lamps throughout the sales floor, employee offices are also lit efficiently. In the new store, overhead lighting was reduced in offices and combined with more efficient task lamps on desks.
Bolduc also installed 12 light-emitting diode (LED) exit signs. Since these only use 1 to 2 watts and last up to 20 years, Bolduc is assured that he is not wasting energy on them.
Bolduc’s experience with the lighting upgrade was not all smooth sailing. While he highly recommends working with a contractor, he warns the famous “buyer beware” adage. When Bolduc ran into some snags with his new lighting, the contractor was nowhere to be found. His lesson to others is know your contractor well. Know their track record and get some references before you hire them. This can save a lot of time, money, and headaches in the future.
In addition to lighting upgrades, Bolduc also conserves energy throughout the building envelope. He installed low-emissivity (Low-E), super-insulated, double-paned windows that not only limit the amount of solar heat entering the store, but also limit heat loss in the winter. The windows also cut down on the admission of ultraviolet rays, which fade the books.
Another energy investment Bolduc made was the installation of an energy-efficient evaporative cooler. This unit cools air through evaporation in the summer and heats air with a gas-fired heating chamber in the winter.
In addition to energy conservation, Bolduc also implemented water conservation measures by installing efficient toilets and aerators in faucets. While the dollar savings from these upgrades are not as significant as those from the lighting upgrades, they conserve resources - all part of the Boulder Bookstore philosophy.
When asked how these improvements help the bookstore’s image Bolduc replied, “Although becoming an ‘environmentally conscious’ bookstore was never our main mission, we are now known as one.”
Since the installation of most of the newer, energy-efficient equipment occurred in tandem with the move to a new site, Bolduc doesn’t really consider it to be an upgrade per se. When they moved, they had an opportunity to make some energy- and money-saving choices, and they made them. Another benefit to doing it this way was there was no disruption to business. Moreover, Bolduc says he will consider more upgrade projects in the future, as newer technology becomes available.
“Boulder Bookstore is proud to be a part of the EPA’s movement to reduce atmospheric pollution. In addition to being the ‘right thing to do,’ the energy efficient measures we have taken have helped to lower overhead and operating costs, which has been really valuable.”
—David Bolduc, Owner, Boulder Bookstore