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In all retail environments the experience of the customer is paramount, with a great experience customers are happy and more willing to spend.

The question is if you are giving a fantastic experience with great lighting, ambient temperature and the perfect mood music how do you manage the energy that all these things are using without losing any of the effect?

The biggest users of energy in retail are usually heating and lighting. According to the Carbon Trust by reducing the temperature of the store even by one degree C you can cut fuel consumption by up to 8% and it may make your customers more comfortable. The use of air curtains helps here, on a cold day, walking through a warm blast of air not only makes the store feel “warm and welcoming” it also isolates the stores heating from the cold outside temperate, allowing the stores temperature to be reduced.

There’s lot of good advice around, for example the Carbon Trust, who suggest that biggest thing with heating and air conditioning is not to have them running at the same time. You can avoid this by setting protocols where the heating automatically switches off at 19 degree C but the air-conditioning doesn’t kick in until the temperature reaches over 24 degree C. This can save huge amounts of energy as each system is not fighting against the other.

By monitoring the lighting you can also ensure that the lights are only on when they need to be and any out of hours waste is eliminated again saving money from the bottom line. Consider movement sensitive lighting in all staff only areas, why light the loos and back-of-house areas when there’s no-one in there (but make sure you get the timings right, you don’t want to leave your staff sitting in the dark!), the same applies to canteen areas too.

In addition to identifying energy savings, energy monitoring has a second role to play – by monitoring the assets used to deliver this great customer experience, it’s possible to ensure that they are being used correctly to deliver the desired brand experience but not wastefully. For example, alarms can be used to ensure that air curtains and display lighting is switched on during open hours but not during re-stocking.

Retail is just like anywhere else that needs to control their energy, monitoring can identify where you can make the biggest savings while still ensuring you give your customers the fantastic shopping experience that they are after!