Save Mart partners with PG&E on energy efficiency - Smart Energy Decisions

Commercial, Energy Efficiency, Utilities, Finance  -  July 21, 2016

Utilizing on-bill financing, California grocer rolls out energy-saving refrigeration upgrades

A 52,000 square-foot grocery store in a small California city has adopted a number of new energy-saving technologies with the help of its electric utility, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. 

The Save Mart in Ripon, Calif., recently added doors to refrigerated cases; motion sensors in the freezer aisles and swapped out fluorescent tube lighting with new LED display lights in the produce, freezer and meat sections. Save Mart's installation of the doors to refrigerated cases cut refrigerated energy use by 75%, PG&E said in a blog post about Save Mart's energy efficiency initiatives.

According to the post, the refrigerator door installations also prevent the release of refrigerated air, stop wasted energy and countered  the adverse impacts on the store’s general heating and air conditioning. The move represented a change in logic around Save Mart's previous method of refrigeration, which involved cases without doors. 

“The common wisdom was you don’t want to put doors on the cases because you don’t want to stop them from buying or reaching in for products,” said PG&E's Clay Lewis, who is one of five PG&E representatives that work with grocery stores in Northern and Central California.

Save Mart has not found that logic to hold true since installing the doors earlier this year, according to the blog post, the installation has had no impact on keeping shoppers from accessing or finding the products they need.

"I talked to a customer who felt better about buying sour cream because she felt the product’s integrity is better because it’s fully refrigerated,” PG&E quoted the store's manager, Mike Moreno, as saying.

Save Mart utilized on-bill financing offered by PG&E, which requires no upfront capital from the grocery store. The loans for the project are then paid off over time from the energy savings they provide to Save Mart.

The utility's blog post made plain the importance of addressing energy use in the grocery business broadly, where refrigeration and freezers make up a significant portion of a store's electric bill. Grocery stores also have a need for consistent air cooling so that produce is kept fresh, the post notes. 

Pacific Gas and Electric is a subsidiary of PG&E Corp. 


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