After saving more than $1 billion in energy costs since 2000 and earning the Environmental Protection Agency's Energy Star rating for its 600th store this fall, Food Lion is plugging its energy conservation program directly into employees. The Salisbury, N.C.-based subsidiary of Delhaize Group started an energy awareness campaign featuring a scratch-off game with prizes for deli associates.
“The program was developed for deli associates because deli operations account for a significant part of store energy costs and because deli associates can easily take actions to reduce energy use,” said Ruth Kinzey, the retailer's spokeswoman. For example, they learned that turning off an unused exhaust hood can save a store $1,500 a year in energy costs, she said.
For each of three weeks in October, deli workers at every Food Lion store received a game card with questions on energy-saving practices in their departments. The workers scratched off answers they thought were correct. Those who chose the correct answers were entered into a weekly drawing. Those winners — one each week across the chain — received an Energy Star-approved electronic device, such as a portable DVD player. Food Lion and lightbulb manufacturer Sylvania also gave away 100 compact fluorescent bulbs for employees at the retailer's corporate headquarters to take home. The special bulbs use two-thirds less energy than standard incandescent bulbs.
Next year, Food Lion plans to extend some of its energy-savings education programs to shoppers.