Located in Mary Esther, Florida
Annual Cash Savings: $2,992
Annual Energy Savings: 49,866 kWh
Payback period: 0.4 years
Prevented 74,799 pounds of pollution
Macno Management Company in Mary Esther, Florida, manages eight Subway restaurant franchises. When owner Michael Nobles got tired of paying high utility bills, he started looking for ways to cut his operating costs. He was not convinced about the benefits of energy-efficient lighting until his facilities received a free energy audit from the University of West Florida.
The first upgrade the audit recommended was to replace the wasteful, inefficient lighting in his 1,200- to 1,400-sq.ft. stores with new, highly efficient T-8s. Nobles used two of his franchises as test sites before he committed to upgrading all his stores. He replaced the 4-bulb, 47-watt fixtures in each store with 2-bulb, T-8 fixtures with electronic ballasts. “What’s amazing,” Nobles said, “is that those 2-bulb fixtures seem to put out more light than the 4-bulb fixtures.”
“When the employees saw the new lighting for the first time, they said they felt as if they were walking into a surgery room,” he said. “And that’s exactly how clean we want our stores to be.”
Nobles replaced 152, 47-watt lights with 76 T-8s in the two stores. Each new T-8 costs $15.50, but he’s saving $100 per month in each store, or $2,400 a year. That is an impressive return on an initial investment of $1,178. “What makes this even more impressive,” he said, “is that we have started opening at 7 a.m. instead of 10 a.m. so that we could serve the breakfast crowd. We are getting those kind of savings even though we’re open an additional three hours.”
The audit also recommended that Nobles put timers on his coffee and tea urns and on his hot-water heaters. Previously, he had been heating water for tea and coffee all day, even though there are specific hours when people order each drink. Nobles bought four timers — two for each store — at a total cost of $12. The estimated annual savings are between $80 and $140 for both stores. The timer on the hot-water heaters in each store cost $14, for a total cost of $28. The estimated annual savings is $492.
Nobles was so impressed with the savings that he installed energy-efficient equipment in the new store he’s constructed. “The original plan was to have 100, 47-watt bulbs, but now we are going with 50 T-8s.”
And he plans to upgrade the rest of his stores soon. “These upgrades have been very good in terms of profit,” he says. “I’d like to give every Subway the chance to do this.”
In addition to substantial savings in energy costs, Nobles is equally impressed with another benefit. “I’ve had customers come in and say the vegetables look fresher,” he explained. “The new lights just make everything look cleaner, brighter, and fresher.” Nobles believes the upgrades are encouraging customers to return to his store, increasing his sales.
Nobles paid for the upgrades himself, but Florida has an energy loan program. According to Nobles, “You pay off the loan with some fraction — say 75 percent — of your energy savings. So nothing comes out of your pocket and you actually get some money every month. And the loan gets paid off fast.” He is considering getting such a loan to finance energy-efficient upgrades in the rest of his stores.
Nobles first learned about ENERGY STAR for small business from the University of West Florida auditor. At first he was skeptical about claims for potential savings, but having seen the results himself, Nobles is now a vocal advocate for the program.
Macno Management Company