How to Achieve Optimum Energy Efficiency in Your Food Retail Stores

By Published On: June 22, 2021

Energy management is essential when operating a retail store. Reducing energy cost and achieving optimal energy efficiency are priorities that retailers strive for especially in the food retail sector, where storing and processing food products entail using a lot of power.

In the US, grocery stores consume an average electrical power of 52.5 kWh per square foot per year, with refrigeration and lighting accounting for up to 65% of the total use. At a time when the budget is most important, here are some of the ways that food retailers can achieve optimum energy efficiency and reduce daily energy usage:

Improved Lighting

Installing energy-efficient lighting, such as LED lights in merchandising display cases, can do wonders for food retail stores. Replacing old technology light bulbs (e.g., fluorescent and incandescent) with LED lights reduces energy costs up to 30% to 50% and yields longer light lifespans and less maintenance than their non-LED counterparts. Also, not only does LED lighting attract customers and improve product visibility, high-quality LED lighting plays a huge part in maintaining product integrity.

Use of Natural Refrigerants

Refrigeration accounts for up to 40% of energy usage in supermarkets. That’s why choosing the most fitting and energy-efficient refrigeration system is crucial. Refrigeration systems that use natural refrigerants are a top choice when it comes to cutting energy costs. Display cases that utilize natural refrigerants such as R-290 or refrigeration systems that run through CO2, can dramatically decrease energy consumption. Also, food retail contributes between 1-2% of global greenhouse gas emissions making the case that switching to climate-friendly refrigerants is essential.  


Close-the-case” is a process intended to significantly reduce retailers’ in-store energy costs by retrofitting open display cases with glass doors. Closing the case reduces the energy needed to keep the refrigerated air inside the case and saves up to 75% of the refrigeration load.

Installing Blinds and Shelf Technology

For additional energy-saving strategies, retailers can install night curtains and shelf-edge technology, especially on open display cases. Night curtains help save energy while keeping the display case temperature in check, especially during closing hours. Shelf-edge technology is another useful tool that saves up to 33% in energy costs by controlling and keeping the cold air inside the refrigerated display cases.

These difficult times have magnified how important it is for us to keep our costs down in order to keep our business above water. Reducing energy costs may be just one of those helpful strategies to earn a little more margin, but it certainly goes a long way in helping our business both survive and thrive.