In today’s retail environment, margins tend to be diminishing all over the place; retailers need to get creative in order to stop the bleeding, find ways to increase sales, and move the needle on the trend to stay alive and relevant. One expense area that I noticed was significant was our electric bill, and I decided to delve into how to potentially reduce it. After researching solar alternatives, it was suggested to me that I first conduct an overall energy audit to identify where and how our energy expenses are coming from.
It’s natural to be skeptical of the kind of savings that can come from an energy audit, but after speaking with Tom Sherman from Sustainable Energy Services and learning more about their audit process, I decided to engage their firm to conduct a full store energy audit. SES’s unbiased position and independence from all suppliers gave us the confidence that they could act as our “owner’s representative.” The audit followed the guidelines established by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) for a Level II Energy Audit.
The comprehensive audit report we received identified a broad range of energy-saving opportunities, many of which were no-cost or low-cost. We immediately implemented an LED lighting upgrade along with other projects and realized substantial monthly savings in the first month. So we are continuing to implement the other projects outlined in their report. SES also handled the utility rebates for us. In addition, SES is helping us with our energy supply purchasing. I believe that their deep energy expertise, which covers both the supply and demand side of the utility meter, gives us the best chance of maximizing our energy savings without incurring unforeseen risk.