Renewables and sustainability are more than just buzz words. In the retail segment, they can add green credentials to your brand and save money on your ongoing energy bills.
Adam Firmstone, Client Energy Manager at Schneider Electric says, “The first step to achieve sustainability in retail is to think about the commitments you want to make and what your overarching strategy is. It’s all very well to say ‘we are committed to do this’ but you need to have a solid plan in place to make it happen, particularly if you need to get exec buy-in.”
Whether you’re looking to cut CO2 emissions by 30% by 2030, reach net zero across all stores by 2050, or put in place some Science Based Targets, Adam believes there are a few things to consider when it comes to putting sustainability practices in place, these include…
Seeking a Strategy
Whatever your end goal is, it all comes back to the strategy. Instead of focusing primarily on cost and savings, it is better to understand first ‘where you are headed as a company’ and determine ‘what the focus will be in the future’. Only after doing so you can find your strategy and make your commitments.
Refining ideas is not always simple, and this is where the help of a company like Schneider Electric can be invaluable. Schneider Electric can help organisations understand the targets and goals that will resonate with customers and investors. It helps drive internal consensus on what those goals and targets should be at an executive level.
Once key targets and goals are articulated we can then identify the right strategies and tactics that will help in meeting key milestones that are critical to achieve long-term goals.
Setting Your Starting Point
The first thing to do is understand what your baseline energy usage is. From there, Schneider Electric can help you identify what projects might be suited to improving your efficiency and sustainability. This includes using renewable energy, putting in automation solutions, and developing solutions to make refrigeration and HVAC more efficient.
In most retail environments, lighting presents a big opportunity for energy savings. An excellent starting point would be implementing a lighting automation solution, where lights are only turned on when they’re needed or can be dimmed when natural light is available.
Also, technology such as a Building Management System (BMS) can group together and control a series of energy efficiency technologies to create even further efficiencies.
Understanding the “One Size Does NOT Fit All” Concept
Each retailer is different. Some stores reside in older buildings and can achieve efficiencies by replacing old and outdated systems. Meanwhile, others are housed in new buildings where energy efficiency may have been a priority during the build process. Your sustainability journey will be unique to you.
Sustainability doesn’t always have to do with energy usage. For example, a fast food store might be more focused on their need to reduce food wastage. Whereas a clothing outlet might want to think about where their items are sourced from and how they can be recycled down the track.
You can’t manage what you don’t measure
Once you have your strategy and milestones in place, you need find a way to track them.
Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure for Retail solutions bring together layers of connected technology under an easy-to-use software platform so you can quickly and easily access a range of data for management and usage.
Schneider Electric can support stores around data management and can help with benchmarking against other stores. This allows you to get a better energy price across states and understand your foot traffic.
What is Active Energy Management?
It is all about buying energy smarter, using energy more efficiently and operating sustainably. When this is done in silos, companies miss significant opportunities. Schneider Electric’s Active Energy Management is a holistic view of the strategies, data and resources needed to reduce consumption, drive innovation and maximise savings.