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Here’s How Grocery Stores can Profit from Demand Response

Once your facility enrolls in a demand response (DR) program, establishing a reduction strategy can be difficult.  You might ask yourself, “How can my employees and I reduce enough energy to make a profit for the company, while still providing quality service to our customers?”  After all, the customer comes first, right?  This is a common question most grocery store owners have, but it can be easier than you think.

Your store is able to reduce its energy intake during DR events through a number of different methods, all of which can be tailored to fit your specific needs.  For your convenience, we came up with several reduction strategies that will be an effective tool for achieving maximum electricity reduction.

Where to start?

As part of your store’s event preparation, a day-ahead notice will be issued, giving you enough time to clean and repair any condensers, evaporators, door gaskets, and seals to conserve energy and minimize refrigerant leakage during the event.

One of the most effective methods of energy reduction will be to pre-cool your facility.  Pre-cooling involves lowering the interior temperature 5-10 degrees below the normal set point several hours before the event.  A few minutes before the event begins, the temperature is raised 5-10 degrees above the normal set point.  Once the event has ended, the temperature can be returned to normal.  Essentially, this process will keep the air conditioner from turning on until the event ends, or until the temperature reaches the set point.  This keeps customers comfortable for the duration of the event while still cutting energy consumption.

Store freezers and refrigerators can also be pre-cooled.  You can adjust the temperature of the freezers in the rear storage area the same way you reduce the temperature of the air conditioning.  The doors are kept shut for the entire event, and the freezer’s insulation maintains the proper temperature during the event.  Keep in mind that overcompensating may lead to damaged products, so be sure the temperature remains at a safe level.

What to do next?

Pre-cooling is just one tactic to cut electricity during DR events.  Lighting can be a heavy draw for your store, and your staff will have plenty of time to turn off all unnecessary fixtures well before the start of the event.  If the overhead lights in your storage area are metal-halide bulbs, they require a great amount of energy and end up producing wasted, excess heat.  Have your employees turn these off and rely on natural lighting or task lighting during the event.

Overhead lighting in the rest of the store should be reduced by 20 percent or more.  Any decorative lighting should be shut down entirely.  Ceiling fans and ventilation units should also be powered down or adjusted to cycle on and off during event hours.  Cash registers that are not in use should be shut down.  Finally, any equipment in the storage area that runs on batteries, such as pallet stackers or forklifts, should be charged prior to the event.

When stress on the grid calls on demand response programs to save the day, participants like you are the last defense against rolling blackouts.  It is incredibly important to test your reduction strategy in advance and keep it on standby for when an event is triggered.  With these measures, you can be assured that your store will be successful in reducing energy, while ensuring your customers are happy and satisfied.

To learn more about demand response, click here.

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