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Anti-Sweat Control that Makes Sense and Saves Money

By Jonathan Tan, VP Energy Services The AMS Group Did you ever think about how much heat there might be in your frozen food aisles? There could be heat on the door glass, the frames around the glass, and the frames on the cases. The heat prevents moisture from forming on the glass and frames – which is essential. But did you know heat is needed only a fraction of the time to be effective? Yet many stores still have uncontrolled heat, which operates all day, every day. This is wasted electricity – and money – in the form of

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Are energy upgrades worth it to grocers?

By Jonathan Tan, VP Energy Services The AMS Group, Hillphoenix Download Infographic Food retailers inherently know reducing energy consumption reduces operational expenses and boosts the bottom line. Few, though, have a clear picture of the industry’s energy profile and the magnitude of savings to be realized by strategic energy upgrades. Without taking on the additional role of energy manager, this information isn’t readily transparent. Neither is knowing which upgrades make the most sense and how they justify the expense. Each dollar cut from the electric bill is equivalent to increasing sales by $18. According to the U.S. Department of Energy,

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Case studies: Boost ROI on refrigeration upgrades

When grocers look into refrigeration system upgrades, the first thing they want to know is how much they’ll spend. That’s logical and important, of course, but the upfront cost is not your only key metric. To fully understand your potential return on investment, you’ll also want to calculate just how much you can save through refrigeration modernization. Mini-case studies of two recent Hillphoenix projects give a real-world view of the potential: A Massachusetts supermarket replaced more than 40 single-condensing units with three modern, parallel refrigeration racks. Store size: 40,000 square feet Length of project: completed in phases over 9 months

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Energy efficient solutions from a shopper’s point of view

By Jonathan Tan, VP Energy Services The AMS Group, Hillphoenix Our relationship with food is changing. Cooking shows, celebrity chefs, open kitchen designs. Instagram photos. Grocers bringing alternatives into the mainstream. The resurgence of the farmers market. The list goes on and on. For a mix of health, social, economic, and sustainability reasons, people are engaging more deeply  with food. They talk – and think – about what they eat, how they prepare it, and where they buy it. And food shopping is no longer a list-driven routine for replenishing the pantry. For more and more people, it’s an experience

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Evaporator Fan Retrofits Do More Than Save Energy

By Jonathan Tan, VP Energy Services The AMS Group, Hillphoenix Electronically commutated (EC) motors have been an alternative to induction (shaded pole and permanent split capacitor) motors in evaporator fans for the past decade. Although EC motors can reduce energy consumption by as much as 65 percent compared with its predecessors, the higher cost of the technology – and longer payback period – has hindered significant adoption in the supermarket space. But as with most new technologies it’s only a matter of time until the price comes down, and EC motors are now essentially standard on evaporator fans in new

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Financing options bolster the business case for energy-efficient food stores

Financing options bolster the business case for energy-efficient food stores

The AMS Group No matter where you stand on climate change or environmental stewardship, one thing is clear: It pays to be green. That message was driven home when Goldman Sachs upped its investment in energy-efficiency and clean-energy projects over the next 10 years from $40 billion to $150 billion. In fact, investing in energy efficiency is one of the best bets around, with a low risk comparable to U.S. T-bills (~ 5% risk index) but an average annual return upward of 20 percent – more than four times that of T-bills. The business case for energy efficiency is especially

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Infographic: 3 Ways to Finance Energy Projects without Being Cash Strapped

The single greatest barrier to food stores initiating energy efficiency (EE) and renewable energy (RE) projects is initial costs. The “sticker shock” prevents owners from acting on measures that reduce energy and maintenance costs, improve the customer experience and ultimately the bottom line. Learn more about three powerful ways to pay for energy upgrades while maintaining a positive cash flow: on-bill financing, traditional financing, and property-assessed clean energy (PACE) programs.  

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Infographic: Capture Savings as You Spend Capex Dollars on Refrigeration Upgrades

Are you looking for projects to help you make the most of your allocated capital expenditure budget before the year runs out? A refrigeration system upgrade is a strong option. Here’s why: It’s a capex project that can be accomplished in a relatively short time. There’s no major construction. It positions your store for more modernization down the road. The upfront costs can often be offset by rebates and incentives — as much as 40% depending on project size and location. The investment is returned through years of energy savings. Your refrigeration system upgrade also may lead to savings on water

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Lack of uniform modeling solutions hinders natural refrigeration adoption

Last month, we discussed the lack of effective performance baselines for natural refrigeration systems and how that makes it difficult for utilities to provide natural refrigeration incentives. In this article, we’ll talk about the second challenge faced by end users and utilities: the lack of good modeling software for natural refrigeration systems. When seeking incentives from utilities for natural refrigeration, modeling new system performance is key to calculating anticipated savings. “Modeling” entails determining what the energy consumption of a particular technology is, taking all variables into account and using mathematical formulas to ensure that all numbers are accurate. It’s important

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Make Utility Rebates Part of Your Energy Improvement Efforts

Make Utility Rebates Part of Your Energy Improvement Efforts

By Jonathan Tan, VP Energy Services The AMS Group, Hillphoenix In the commercial building space, grocery stores rank #1 for energy intensity, using more energy per square foot than even health care facilities. As consumer demand for more fresh and frozen foods grows, energy intensity will too, with more store space devoted to refrigerated and freezer cases. Improving energy efficiency is imperative to protect grocers’ already thin profit margins. End-use energy is the second highest operating expense after labor for food retailers, and the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that every dollar saved in electricity has the same impact on

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New LEDs will have you seeing red in all the right ways

New LEDs will have you seeing red in all the right ways

By Jonathan Tan, VP Energy Services The AMS Group, Hillphoenix Over the past decade or so, grocers have been reaping merchandising benefits of LED lighting in freezer cases. Despite initial limitations in LED color quality and total light output, both its cooler color temperatures and uniform illumination have literally cast frozen foods in a favorable light. Along with creating the ideal look and feel, LED’s superior performance at lower temperatures and greater energy efficiency compared with fluorescent lights have been a real win for grocers in the freezer aisle. LEDs have finally surpassed fluorescents in color fidelity. The good news

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No-Heat Freezer Doors

No-Heat Freezer Doors? No Sweat!

By Jonathan Tan, VP Energy Services The AMS Group Food stores are complex. What it takes to merchandise effectively, on one hand, and operate efficiently, on the other, can be at odds with each other. Heated cooler and freezer doors are a perfect example. Preventing condensation, or sweating, on low-temperature case doors is a must for merchandising and a good customer experience. Using heat to do it, however, has a significant downside for efficient operations. The problem with heated doors Put simply, heated doors are expensive to operate. In addition to the energy it takes to prevent condensation, refrigeration loads

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Off-Grid Energy Soothes the Sting of Peak Demand Charges

Electricity consumption during certain times of day comes at a high price. To prevent brownouts during demand spikes, utility companies maintain a lot of very expensive equipment on standby and they pass that expense on to commercial (industrial) ratepayers in the form of demand charges — a portion of the electric bill, in addition to actual consumption, that customers pay to ensure utilities can supply “extra” energy, if and when needed. For commercial customers, demand charges account for about 30 percent of the electric bill. The demand charge is typically based on time of use – the time of day

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Paying for Building-Level Energy Projects: PACE Makes It Possible

The AMS Group Solar power, wind power, fuel cells. These and other alternative approaches to producing and using energy still have an air of newness for most people who are not in the energy business. While the technologies themselves are not new, the traction they are gaining in a more mainstream application and adoption is. This, in large part, is because they are becoming easier to pay for. In two previous posts, we covered how food retailers can maintain positive cash flow while paying for energy projects through on-bill financing and even traditional financing. These are great options for energy-efficiency

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Planning an effective retrofit strategy starts with benchmarking

By Jonathan Tan, VP Energy Services The AMS Group, Hillphoenix Download Infographic Supermarkets are the most electricity-intensive commercial buildings, using an average of 51.5 kilowatt-hours per square foot per year at a cost of about $3.70 per square foot per year. In terms of operating budget, energy is the second largest expense for food retailers after labor. In fact, given the industry’s thin profit margin, it’s estimated that it takes $18 in sales to pay off $1 of the electric bill.* The good news is there are several system retrofits and other energy upgrades that significantly improve electricity efficiency –

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Recommissioning cuts energy, improves store environment

By Jonathan Tan, VP Energy Services The AMS Group, Hillphoenix The food store environment is complex, with the various building systems essentially working against each other to maintain optimal conditions. General illumination competes with lighting used to enhance merchandising. Refrigeration competes with maintaining comfortable aisle temperatures for customers. Seasonal and daily weather variables further complicate the mix, affecting loads on refrigeration and HVAC systems. When any one of a store’s systems isn’t operating optimally – at designed specifications – it affects the performance of the other systems and the overall store environment. It also significantly increases energy expenses. Migration away

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Securing Energy Incentives Isn’t a DIY Endeavor for Supermarkets

Securing Energy Incentives Isn’t a DIY Endeavor for Supermarkets

By Leigha Joyal Energy Analyst, Hillphoenix Food retail is among the most electricity intensive commercial enterprises, and store owners want to reduce their consumption and their bills. Utilities want to see that happen, too. Containing consumption is more cost effective for utilities than expanding the electric grid. That’s why they have incentive programs that defray some of the costs of adopting energy-efficient technologies. This, at least in theory, is a win for everyone. But in practice, it’s not always a win for food retailers. The energy incentives landscape Navigating the incentives terrain takes an investment of time, manpower, and even

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Shedding light on cost-effective energy reduction in convenience stores

By Jonathan Tan, VP Energy Services The AMS Group, Hillphoenix There are more than 152,000 convenience stores in the U.S. and about 80 percent of them sell gas. The food retail part of the business alone makes these stores energy intensive. Across the industry, food stores use an average of 51.5 kilowatt-hours per square foot  – more than any other commercial building. For C-stores that sell gas, energy intensity can soar to as much as 94 kilowatt-hours per square foot or higher due to greater plug loads (e.g., coffee makers, slushy machines), outdoor lighting, and gas canopy lighting, all compressed

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The Future for Naturals is Now: Utility Incentive Success Stories

By Keilly Witman KW Refrigerant Management Strategy LLC Much has been written over the past few months about the potential for utility incentives based on natural refrigerant use in supermarkets. The word “potential,” as well as the nature of the articles, suggests that utility incentives for naturals are a thing of the future. Not so! There are plenty of examples of successful incentive projects for stores that use natural refrigeration systems. The discussion about utility incentives for naturals normally centers around how our industry can get utilities to adapt their existing incentive programs to better fit the world of natural

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Utility Incentives: Lack of standard industry benchmarks still a challenge

If you’re going to reward improvement, you need a baseline against which to measure it. Therein lies one of the many challenges facing refrigeration end-users seeking utility incentives for upgrades and new installations. As utilities, manufacturers and end-users work together to make newer, more energy efficient equipment more affordable through incentives, the lack of standard industry benchmarks makes the process complicated, fragmented and inconsistent. Manufacturer calculations are apples and oranges Within the refrigeration manufacturing industry, there is no uniform energy performance baseline for either CO2 or DX systems. Each manufacturer has its own set of tools for calculating energy consumption,

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Why You Shouldn’t Dismiss Traditional Financing for Energy Improvements

Why You Shouldn’t Dismiss Traditional Financing for Energy Improvements

The AMS Group The initial cost of energy-efficiency retrofits is the single biggest hurdle to initiating projects. That’s because the cost of a project is more salient than the amount of money to be saved by energy efficiency. But what if you compare the cost of a project with the cost of energy wasted instead? The two propositions are the same, but the second one shifts focus to costs on both sides of the equation. A retrofit project costs money but so does not doing a project, especially for grocery stores, where energy consumption is among the highest of all

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Are energy upgrades worth it to grocers?

By Jonathan Tan, VP Energy Services The AMS Group, Hillphoenix Download Infographic Food retailers inherently know reducing energy consumption reduces operational expenses and boosts the bottom line. Few, though, have a clear picture of the industry’s energy profile and the magnitude of savings to be

Continue Reading

Case studies: Boost ROI on refrigeration upgrades

When grocers look into refrigeration system upgrades, the first thing they want to know is how much they’ll spend. That’s logical and important, of course, but the upfront cost is not your only key metric. To fully understand your potential return on investment, you’ll also

Continue Reading

Evaporator Fan Retrofits Do More Than Save Energy

By Jonathan Tan, VP Energy Services The AMS Group, Hillphoenix Electronically commutated (EC) motors have been an alternative to induction (shaded pole and permanent split capacitor) motors in evaporator fans for the past decade. Although EC motors can reduce energy consumption by as much as

Continue Reading
No-Heat Freezer Doors

No-Heat Freezer Doors? No Sweat!

By Jonathan Tan, VP Energy Services The AMS Group Food stores are complex. What it takes to merchandise effectively, on one hand, and operate efficiently, on the other, can be at odds with each other. Heated cooler and freezer doors are a perfect example. Preventing

Continue Reading

Recommissioning cuts energy, improves store environment

By Jonathan Tan, VP Energy Services The AMS Group, Hillphoenix The food store environment is complex, with the various building systems essentially working against each other to maintain optimal conditions. General illumination competes with lighting used to enhance merchandising. Refrigeration competes with maintaining comfortable aisle

Continue Reading
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