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September 6, 2012 -
Today's tip is about how to save energy when you manage a large portfolio of retail facilities. The key, say experts, is to put a system in place that gives the ability to standardize, analyze and prioritize energy efficiency best practices, and then, energy efficiency data across the portfolio.
To do so, keep in mind, technology is your friend. Many leading retail organizations - like Walgreens and Nike - have installed energy management systems at their stores. These systems can be centrally monitored so that facility managers know if, say, there's a problem with the HVAC system before the store manager would. Additionally, the system can provide technicians with initial diagnosis of the problem. Or, in a best case scenario, a facility manager can tell the store manager how to fix the problem without requiring a technician call.
It's also possible to use the EMS to gradually ramp up HVAC and light levels in the morning, and turn them back down slowly in the evening. This, combined with the other energy-savings strategies available by using an EMS, can save anywhere from 10-33 percent on energy at each store, says one Nike facility manager.
It also helps to standardize setpoints and lighting levels within facilities. That way, when you analyze energy data, it's much easier to tell which facilities are underperforming - and in which specific energy-using areas. Additionally, many organizations hire a third-party company to manage and pay its energy bills - and to give them warning if suddenly a bill is way too high. Then, the forensics regarding why a particular bill is too high can begin.