Company cuts energy use by 35% and saves millions of dollars
Medina, MN (March 4, 2016) – Lunds & Byerlys, a prominent Minnesota grocery retailer, has reduced its companywide energy consumption by 35% in the past eight years. And they saved millions of dollars by doing so.
The news is noteworthy for two reasons. First, grocery retailers operate on thin net profit margins. For grocers, millions of dollars in savings have a huge effect on total profit. Second, until recently it has been hard to calculate how much money a business saves by improving energy efficiency in multiple locations over several years.
Lunds & Byerlys operates 27 upscale supermarkets in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. Winters there are typically long and cold.
Wally Lindeman, the retailer’s senior manager of facilities, has used a software product from kWh360 to quantify the energy savings.
Lunds & Byerlys has been implementing energy-efficiency measures since 2007, Lindeman says. The dual goal has been to save money and to care for the environment. That’s why Lunds & Byerlys has been on the lookout for a better tool to help them manage the energy efficiency of their stores, Lindeman says.
“We’ve implemented many energy-saving measures over the years, but until recently it was a lengthy process to quantify the savings across the organization,” he says.
Why was it hard? The complexity arises when you try to calculate energy efficiency for many locations over several years, Lindeman says. You have multiple initiatives, and you want to measure cumulative benefits across all of them.
To track savings over several years, you must adjust for changes in utility rates, weather, building square footage, energy-consuming assets, and other such factors.
Another complication arises if a company operates building across weather zones. “Locations in the more extreme weather will always appear less energy efficient,” says Abtar Singh, founder and president of kWh360.
Lunds & Byerlys started using kWh360’s software in 2014. The software, called 360-Cloud, provides an easy way to identify energy inefficiencies in Lunds & Byerlys stores. It also helps Lindeman create an energy-conservation plan for each store. Once the efficiency measures have been implemented, the software also quantifies the actual savings.
“kWh’s easy-to-use tools showed that our efforts over the past eight years have reduced energy consumption by 35% companywide,” Lindeman says. “Our energy consumption was 65 kilowatt hours per square foot in 2007. And now it’s 42.” The industry average for similar stores is 50 kilowatt hours per square foot, Lindeman notes.
Just as important as tracking savings, Lindeman says, the software also helps Lunds & Byerlys protect the savings they’ve achieved. It does so by issuing ongoing alerts if the savings decline in a store.
“Last year, natural gas consumption suddenly increased at one of our stores. 360-Cloud spotted the increase and brought it to our attention. We sent a technician to the store. He discovered that heat reclaim has been running on bypass.”
“That one alert saved us $7,000 a year. Similarly, we discovered several cases where water consumption increased. It was because of this that we located the source of the leak and quickly made repairs.”
The automatic alerts are useful enough to pay for the software, even without the other benefits, Lindeman says.
“360-Cloud is ideally suited for organizations with thin resources where managers want to get a grip on their building efficiency,” Lindeman says.
“Our goal at kWh360 is to provide easy-to-use cloud and mobile apps,” Singh says. “Our market is building owners who want to manage the energy efficiency of their properties.
“Very soon, we will release easy-to-use Android and iPhone apps to help survey opportunities to improve energy efficiency in buildings. The apps will integrate with 360-Cloud to measure the payback of various energy-conservation measures (such as LED, Controls retrofit, Variable frequency Drives, EC Motors etc.).”
For more on 360-Cloud and kWh360, please visit http://www.kWh360.com
About kWh360 Inc.
kWh360 (www.kwh360.com) provides software applications and services that help organizations manage the energy efficiency of their buildings across many locations. The company offers tools for building owners, energy consultants and providers of energy-efficiency technologies. Software tools from kWh360 help their users conduct energy surveys. They also perform computer modeling and payback calculations, and they facilitate collection of utility rebates.
Abtar Singh, info@kWh360.com