Many big box retailers and chain stores have made it a habit to invest in Green activities and materials, in an effort to continue their plans for expansion. Yet independent retailers making similar investments will benefit most from their Green initiatives, as money saved will not be going towards store expansion plans, but rather used to purchase unique products not found on chain store shelves. Efficiency upgrades could have more of an effect on your bottom line results than you think. And while some green initiatives may have a higher price tag than you would like, the cost savings and consumer interest gained will make up for the initial out of pocket expenses. Below are some examples of what the competition is doing, and if copied, could mean green profits for your brick and mortar store:
Lighting: Staples, Inc., has become known as one of the retail industry’s leading green stars. The company’s commitment to reducing its impact on the environment has been equally as good for its business. An upgrade from first-generation T8 fluorescent lamps to a high efficiency T8 lamp and ballast system, for nearly 700 retail locations, has been estimated to save Staples a combined 10,193,770 kilowatt-hours annually. The result is a smaller carbon footprint by 15,647,437 pounds of CO2 emissions annually, and fewer maintenance needs. Here’s the real kicker, according to Chain Store Age magazine, “The project resulted in more than a million dollars in annual energy savings.” Staples hasn’t stopped there, as it is also replacing the existing 400 watt metal-halide fixtures throughout its parking lots, beginning with its headquarters. A 42 watt modular LED lighting system is expected to use roughly one-tenth the energy of the previous metal-halide lamps.
Metering: Part of joining the Green campaign is managing energy consumption, and focusing on energy conservation, generation, and distribution. As Deneice Marshall, director of retail services for Brookshire Brothers Food & Pharmacy, tells Chain Store Age magazine, “You get what you inspect, not what you expect, meaning that energy needs to be monitored.” Utilizing installed sub-meters, Brookshire receives detailed data by system, such as lighting load, refrigeration load and more. Part of the reporting from the sub-meter data includes an annual consumption comparison per store, “showing how a site is currently performing, and how it stacks up against the previous year,” according to Chain Store Age. Having this type of data allows Brookshire to identify stores operating outside the expected standards, so that they may be brought back into compliance for energy and cost saving purposes.
As Stephen Denny, author of Killing Giants, would undoubtedly support, fight unfairly. Learn how you, the independent retailer, as the underdog can turn the tables on big box retail by implementing the same Green ideas and strategies to save money for the fight ahead, in saving Main Street USA and gaining a competitive edge.