Community Mercantile, Lawrence, Kansas
18,000 Sq. Feet
Annual Cash Savings: $55,000
Annual Energy Savings: 714,286 kWh
Payback period: 3.5 years
Prevented 1,002,857 pounds of CO2 emissions annually
Community Mercantile, a co-op grocery store in Lawrence, KS, knows that producing sizable savings in energy costs is just as important as selling lots of produce. Andy Lewis, the operations manager of the store, researched the available energy efficient technologies. It turns out that, by installing highly efficient equipment in place of old equipment, including lights, a refrigerator, and its heating, ventilation, and cooling (HVAC) system, the store is able to save an estimated $55,000 annually in energy costs.
Thanks to the success of its energy efficiency renovations, the store is saving money and it received a year 2000 ENERGY STAR® for Small Business Award.
The first step the store made was to replace its inefficient lights with compact fluorescent lamps, which are designed to fit into standard incandescent lamp sockets. Further savings were achieved by using fewer but brighter lamps to light the store and bring out the luster of the grocery’s products.
Then the store replaced an older, less efficient HVAC unit with a new, highly efficient unit. It also replaced an aging refrigerator with a new and much more efficient one.
To complement the energy savings associated with a highly efficient HVAC system, the store installed window screens to cut down on the transference of solar light into heat. That cuts down on the cooling load required of the new HVAC unit.
In addition, the store started covering its open refrigerator unit at night to decrease the loss of cool air, and limit the energy use of the refrigerator.
To maximize the energy savings the store achieved through its energy efficiency investment, it established a maintenance schedule of its energy-using equipment.
These energy efficiency improvements not only save money and make the co-op more fiscally viable, they reflect the environmental philosophy of Community Mercantile. Lewis says, “There are costs to society associated with not using efficient technologies and, as a business in this age, it is the responsible thing to move toward greater efficiency.” Lewis cites the reduction of CO2 and other greenhouse gases as a strong motivator to cut back on energy use. But he also realizes the benefits are financial as well: it just makes smart business sense to save on operating expenses. “You may not think you can afford newer efficient fixtures, but if you account for those capital expenditures, they will pay for themselves many times over.”
The co-op, at which some 70-community members work during the month, has been operating for about 25 years.
In addition to conserving energy as much as possible, Community Mercantile also tries to help the environment in other ways. “We recycle just about everything. This may not reflect directly on our energy efficiency but it does increase our overall efficiency.”
Thanks to this kind of sound business and environmental sense, Community Mercantile received a year 2000 ENERGY STAR for Small Business Award.