Annual cash savings: $ 140,000.00
Annual kWh savings: 14,980
Payback period (approx.): 3 Years
Prevented 758,060 pounds of pollution
255 Champlain Street
Burlington, VT 05401
According to Terry Appleby, President of Northeast Cooperatives’ Board of Directors, investing in energy- efficient technology in their small business has been “a win-win situation.” Not only has Northeast Cooperatives decreased the operating cost of their facility by $140,000 per year, they also received an incentive check for $110,000 from Efficiency Vermont. The incentive check was issued to help pay for the company’s energy efficiency renovations.
Efficiency Vermont is the state’s new energy efficiency utility - the first of its kind in the United States. Efficiency Vermont offers money-saving programs to homebuilders and buyers, low-income Vermonters, farmers, residential, commercial and industrial customers. The programs help these energy consumers capture the greatest energy-saving opportunities available through the installation and use of efficient construction designs, products and equipment. For example, small businesses can receive incentives to install high efficiency equipment, such as lighting, motors and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.
Northeast Cooperative is a Vermont-based distributor of organic produce, natural foods, and natural products. It is owned by its workers and member consumers, primarily natural food stores and consumer buying groups. Northeast Cooperative employs 400 people who serve stores in the northeast, New England, mid-Atlantic, mid-western, and southern states.
“Operating our business in an environmentally responsible manner has been part of our members’ vision from the very beginning. Efficiency Vermont has helped us to install systems that reduce pollution, lower our operating costs, and strengthen our environmentally conscious image in the community” said Terry Appleby.
Northeast Cooperatives was presented with the 2000 Socially Responsible Business Award. The Socially Responsible Business Award recognizes businesses and individuals in the natural products trade that have shown exemplary effort in promoting and practicing socially responsible business. George Southworth, CEO of Northeast Cooperatives, accepted the award for the staff and 1,500 members of Northeast Cooperatives, saying:
“Our member owners and customers want the organizations they own and do business with to exemplify the highest values the natural products industry was founded on. Siting and building our new facility in an environmentally sound manner is also good business in that it reduces potential risk. Sound business management rooted in the industry values we all espouse, simply put, is the right thing to do.”
Without question, reducing atmospheric pollution and guaranteeing a sustainable energy future is the right thing to do, and are pursuits of a socially responsible business. With the assistance of Efficiency Vermont, Northeast Cooperatives installed a new refrigeration system that is “not only more efficient and more reliable than the previous system, but also more environmentally friendly - giving us three significant benefits,” claims Terry Appleby. “And the technical and financial assistance provided by Efficiency Vermont has been indispensable.”
The energy saving measures developed by Northeast Cooperatives included energy efficient motors and the instillation of metal halide lighting with high-low ballasts. Metal halide lighting is more efficient and preferable to incandescent, mercury vapor and most fluorescent light fixtures for large spaces with high ceilings, such as warehouses and gymnasiums.
Ultimately, Northeast Cooperatives spent $525,000 on energy efficiency upgrades for their facility. Considering the $110,000 incentive check provided by Efficiency Vermont, and the annual savings of $140,000, Northeast Cooperatives should pay back their initial investment in three years. After that time, the $140,000 annual savings is supplemental income. It is intelligent business decisions like this that have helped Northeast Cooperatives grow over 78 percent in the last three years.