SEATTLE -- Larry's Markets here will retrofit four stores early next year with energy-saving measures that have reduced utility bills by 25% at its Bellevue, Wash., store.
The multifaceted energy management program derives the majority of savings from a lighting retrofit, but also encompasses food waste composting, recycling and upgraded controls for heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.
After an audit of energy use indicated the five-store chain could spend $14 million on utilities over the next 10 years without a structured program -- "the way most of us do it today," said Brant Rogers, environmental affairs manager -- Larry's Markets determined that a proactive approach could reduce that total cost to about $8 million.
"We can move quickly in that direction because we're small," Rogers told executives gathered here for the 15th annual Food Marketing Institute's Energy & Technical Services Conference last month.
The lighting retrofit, completed six months ago at the Bellevue store, called for replacing T-12 fluorescent fixtures with electronic T-8s, replacing incandescent and halogen lamps with fluorescent lamps, heavy use of reflectors instead of lamps in cases, and better control methods like occupancy sensors to trigger lights in walk-in coolers as well as timers, dimmers and manual switches.
"We had a lot of incandescent lights and now they're gone," Rogers said, noting that lighting accounted for 31% of energy use before the retrofit.
"In the first part of 1994, we compared three previous years and have reduced energy use at the store, measured in kilowatt hours, by 25%," he said. "We had used over 4 million kilowatt hours a year in that store, so that's 1 million kilowatt hours we're going to save." Digital controls in heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, as well as in refrigeration, brought reduced utility costs, Rogers added.
Larry's Markets' energy program goes beyond lighting, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, however. "Food waste composting has been very effective at our company," he said. "We buy it back and put it on our landscaping -- and we have some very beautiful landscapes.
"As we began to compost our food waste we began using garbage water less and saw a pretty drastic reduction of water use -- a side benefit of waste management," he noted.