Vic’s Market, Sacramento, California
29,000 Sq. Feet
Annual Cash Savings: $48,000
Annual Energy savings: 685,715 kWh
Payback period: 3 years
Prevented 850,286 pounds of pollution
Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD)
When Vic and LaReece D’Stefani saw the difference a lighting upgrade made for the atmosphere in a nearby supermarket, they considered doing the same in their Sacramento grocery store. With the help of an energy specialist from the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), the D’Stefanis began an energy-upgrade project that brought results beyond their expectations.
In late 1993, Steve Sheckells, a SMUD energy specialist, worked with lighting contractors to replace old lighting in Vic’s Market. With accompanying reflectors, the new 4-ft. high-output, T-8 lamps and electronic ballasts increased light levels by 20 percent but lowered electricity bills by $1,800 a month. SMUD helped finance the first portion of the upgrade with a 50-percent rebate, so the payback period was less than a year long.
“The D’Stefanis knew right away that this was a good thing,” says Sheckells of the energy upgrade. “Next they were ready for a new, 80-foot row of enclosed freezers to replace the 80 feet of open multideck freezers.” Glass doors for display cases bring a modern look and keep cold air where Vic wants it--with the food instead of cooling the aisles and making customers uncomfortable.
Not only did the new freezers save Vic’s Market an additional $1,600 in electricity bills, but they also made customers happy. “People complained that it was too cold in the freezer aisle before, so with the new equipment they shop longer,” explained D’Stefani.
The energy upgrade did not stop with the new freezers, however. SMUD also helped finance phase III, a replacement of the compressor room and the purchase of new deli, meat, and freezer cases for Vic’s Market. “This part of the upgrade brought Vic’s another $2,500 in monthly savings and it helped us nearly phase out chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) entirely,” claims Sheckells.
The major challenge that the refrigeration industry faces is the mandated phaseout of CFCs. Until recently, many refrigerators used CFC-based refrigerants. Because CFCs deplete the ozone layer and contribute to global climate change, new refrigerants have been developed to replace CFCs and are currently available in new units or as replacements for old units.
The list of benefits seems to be endless, as Vic’s Market continues to save money and bring in greater profits. “In my 50 years in the business, I had heard what a facelift and new lighting could do for your business,” says Vic D’Stefani, “but this project has increased our sales beyond what we expected.” More specifically, Vic’s Market now takes in 15 percent more in sales than it did before the upgrade. So what comes next? “We are buying a new store and hoping to do the same upgrades,” D’Stefani says.