By Sara Counihan
ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Sustainability is a popular buzzword these days, and c-stores are no exception to the positive impact they can have on the environment. But when you’re a busy convenience store owner or executive, how can you easily implement sustainability initiatives in your company? You may even wonder if it’s worth the time and money. The folks on this week’s episode of the Convenience Matters podcast have the answers for you.
NACS recently released the NACS Convenience Store Energy Use Survey, partnering with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program to create the convenience retail industry’s first and only ENERGY STAR Score.
According to Patrick Loftus, survey research and data visualization manager at NACS, the energy use survey was released for two reasons. The first reason was because NACS wanted to understand the landscape of energy use in convenience retail to help retailers benchmark their energy consumption relative to similar stores. The second was to provide NACS members and the convenience industry with an understanding of the benefits of reducing energy costs.
“Really what it comes down to is that any reduction in [utility] expenses could result in substantial savings for the retailer’s business,” said Loftus on the episode. “If we reduced our energy expenses by just 10%, that could result in savings of about $5,400 per year, per store.”
The data that NACS collects from the energy use survey go into creating the first ENERGY STAR certification for convenience stores. ENERGY STAR certified buildings use about 35% less energy than non-ENERGY STAR certified buildings, and that 35% could actually result in savings of about $19,000 per store, per year, according to Loftus.
Paige Anderson, NACS government relations director, says that with the shift to electric vehicles by the transportation sector, understanding a store’s electricity usage is going to be valuable when it comes time to add more EV chargers to a location.
Another hot topic in sustainability—ESG (environmental, social and corporate governance) requirements.
“Whether you’re a publicly held convenience store business or privately held, the implications of ESG requirements are going to impact everybody,” said Anderson on the episode.
Publicly held companies need to implement ESG requirements to satisfy shareholders, and often these types of companies have public reporting requirements on their usage of electricity and how they’re a better steward of the climate. Privately held companies need access to capital, insurance and other financial tools, and many financial institutions are putting ESG requirements on loan applications.
“Having a program like [ENERGY STAR] just helps tell the story to get a higher [ESG] rating,” said Anderson.
Look out for a feature on how ESG is creating a groundswell for retailers to establish benchmarks in NACS Magazine’s October 2021 issue.
Loftus ends the episode by listing some practical, easy-to-implement energy saving tips retailers can use to cut down on utility costs. Hear these tips by listening to episode No. 301 “Score Big With Energy Savings.”
You can also participate in the NACS Convenience Store Energy Use Survey or download your free digital copy of the survey. NACS supplier member GreenPrint has offered to plant five trees for each store that completes the energy use survey.
Sara Counihan is contributing editor of NACS Daily and NACS Magazine. Contact her at email@example.com.