Located in Norman, Oklahoma
8500 Sq. Feet
Annual cash savings: $20,000.00
Annual kWh savings: 235,294
Payback period: 36 Months
Twenty thousand dollars can buy a lot of bread. That’s what Subway franchise owner Steve Kaplan is saving by installing energy-efficient lighting, heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, ceiling fans, and ice makers throughout seven Subway locations in Oklahoma. With these improvements he’s reduced his energy costs by 40 percent and made his restaurants more attractive and comfortable for customers.
Kaplan, a Partner in EPA’s Green Lights program, credits EPA’s impartial technical information with helping him to understand how he could accomplish two goals - better lighting and higher energy efficiency — without having to become an expert himself.
In addition to maintaining properly lit restaurants, Kaplan makes his energy-efficient equipment upgrades where he will get a 3-year simple payback or better. Because Kaplan leases the space for all seven of his Subway franchises, he only upgrades when he plans to renew a lease that is at least three to five years in length, ensuring a 3-year payback.
Kaplan changed his stores’ lighting from 40-watt T-12 lamps with magnetic ballasts to 32-watt T-8 lamps with electronic ballasts. He says customers think the produce looks fresher and more appealing, a result of the higher color rendering index of the T-8s he installed. Subway franchises are required to have a high light level, and Kaplan’s lighting upgrades maintain this very bright level even though each fixture was de-lamped from four bulbs to two.
Keeping his stores comfortable for clients is important for Kaplan’s business. So, whenever Kaplan has opened a new franchise, he has installed an energy-efficient air-conditioning unit with double the capacity of the current unit to suit his cooling needs. Additionally, when a unit breaks down, Kaplan compares the unit replacement and repair costs for profitability. When he has to replace, he buys an energy-efficient unit.
Ceiling fans are another addition to these stores that helps maintain comfort. They increase energy efficiency in a retail food service establishment, and they are decorative. Ceiling fans allow Kaplan to reduce the cooling temperature of his air-conditioning unit (which runs 365 days a year because of the heat generated by the kitchen equipment) by three to five degrees.
One particularly heat-generating piece of equipment in the kitchen is the ice maker. Kaplan chooses one of two options to help reduce the heat generated from these machines. One is a water-cooled ice maker that dumps the heat in the form of hot water down a drain. The other is an air-cooled ice maker that puts the onus on the air-conditioning unit to cool this additional heated air. Because utility rates for water and electricity vary at different store locations, Kaplan installs a water-cooled ice maker where water is less expensive to use. Where electricity is less expensive to use, he installs an air-cooled ice maker.
In three of his stores, Kaplan replaced electric water heaters with energy-efficient gas units and received a payback in one year because of low gas costs. This payback includes the cost to build a fire-retardant closet and a roof vent necessary for the gas unit.
In addition to replacing large, energy-consuming equipment in his stores, Kaplan changes smaller pieces of equipment like refrigerator and freezer gaskets as needed, so that cold air stays in and hot air stays out. Except for heavy tint on a high glass window that Kaplan installed, window film was already in place in all of the stores to keep the sun’s heat outside.
Although his work for now is complete, Kaplan, who is always on the lookout for energy-efficient technologies that can save him money, is exploring the idea of venting the heat from air-cooled ice makers to the outside to reduce cooling costs.