ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Because reducing c-store energy costs boosts profitability—and sustainability— NACS and Energy Star are working together to develop an assessment tool to help convenience retailers benchmark their energy consumption. To paint a complete picture for the industry, NACS is asking retailers to submit 2019 energy usage data via a survey that should take about 30-45 minutes to complete—and it doesn’t need to be done in one session.
The deadline for survey completion is Tuesday, December 22. To request a personal survey link and to learn more about the NACS and Energy Star project, visit www.convenience.org/energyscore.
Operating an energy-efficient convenience store can not only help businesses save money but also can build good will with sustainability-minded customers and make a positive impact on the community.
QuikTrip, with more than 800 stores in 11 states, recognized early on that it could significantly improve profitability by reducing its energy use. To better understand its electricity consumption, the company invested significant capital in an energy management and building automation system in 2008. The system manages lighting, heating, cooling, refrigeration, exhaust fans and more.
QuikTrip’s system also includes an energy dashboard that tracks electricity use at the store level. By comparing store-level energy on a per-square-foot or per-dollar-of-sales basis, QuikTrip can identify maintenance needs and opportunities to reduce electricity.
In its 2019 Environmental Sustainability Review report, QuikTrip reported that its energy efficiency efforts reduced its electricity use by almost 44 million kilowatt hours. Those savings reduced its global warming contributions by 30,305 metric tons of carbon dioxide. QuikTrip attributes its energy saving results to its chain-wide energy management system and its focus to improve the energy efficiency of its lighting and refrigeration. (See more sustainability case studies in the NACS Sustainability Playbook.)
To build a robust Energy Star Score, the NACS Research team is seeking survey responses on new stores, older stores, large and small square footage, with and without foodservice, with and without fuel, and in stores that are located in rural, urban and suburban areas. Each survey response should represent a single store.
To complete the survey, retailers need to have the following information on hand:
- Store square footage (approximate if actual building blueprints aren’t available)
- Usage data for all fuels used for the property (electricity, gas, water, propane, etc.)
- Water bills covering the entire period from January 1, 2019, through December 31, 2019.
- Energy use for all meters in the buildings on the entire property, including outdoor lighting. Include electricity use associated with fuel pumps, but not fuel or diesel sold by the store’s gas pumps.
- If the store uses EPA’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager tool, retailers may not need to gather utility data. If they already use Portfolio Manager to benchmark their energy use, they can save time by submitting energy data through Portfolio Manager.
Before sharing any information with EPA, NACS will remove any “identifying” information unless retailers with an active Portfolio Manager account indicate the EPA can retrieve energy/water data directly from their account. Responses can’t be used against retailers in any way for EPA enforcement/prosecution. NACS may use contact information to follow up in the event of incomplete responses.
Convenience retailers can use the Energy Star Score to benchmark their buildings against industry energy consumption and may qualify for an Energy Star certification, which recognizes energy-efficient top performers for saving money without sacrificing performance and communicates to customers which retailers are conscious of their energy use and environmental impact.
The Energy Star program, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) initiative, offers guidance on strategic energy management that helps businesses identify cost-effective approaches to energy use in their buildings. Since partnering with Energy Star in 2018, NACS has made resources available for convenience retailers to help improve energy usage in stores at www.convenience.org/energystar.