Many retail stores are converting to green solutions to entice customers into shopping, and convenience stores are no exception. The bar is set low for c-stores, since, as the Environmental Protection Agency reports, convenience stores are among the most energy-intensive small businesses to operate. With a wide variety of amenities, c-stores can easily find dozens of methods to save energy and to create a more earth-friendly business.
Reduce Food Waste
Recycling can be your first line of defense against waste. While most people think of paper and plastic, recycling also means food waste. According to a survey by the Natural Resources Defense Council, approximately 40% of all processed food ($165 billion a year) is wasted.
The amount of greenhouse gas emissions generated by wasted food in landfills is approximately 8.2%. In comparison, road transportation tops the list at 10%.
Wasted food is still processed, which consumes energy. Here are a few solutions to this common problem:
• Reduce the food price at the end of the day to sell food rather than send it to a landfill.
• Set up a point of contact to donate to a local food pantry or shelter.
• Give the food to local farmers for their livestock.
Energy Star research proves 40% of c-store energy is dedicated to refrigeration.
Compressors create a lot of heat. Connect indoor compressors with outside rooftop condensers. This keeps the heat outside the store and does not impede on valuable parking lot space. This is the main problem refrigerators have, but there are plenty of other issues that you can solve with routine maintenance.
Try some of these solutions:
• Maintain and clean all cooling equipment. A healthy refrigerator and/or freezer run much more efficiently.
• Defrost quarterly. ¼” of frost can significantly decrease efficiency.
• Deep clean refrigerators annually to improve air circulation.
• Replace broken door seals.
Switch from polystyrene packaging to plant-based packaging to save a huge amount of landfill space.
Aluminum shields over windows and doors can reduce energy use by 9%.
Add plastic vertical strips between refrigerator or freezer walk-in doors and the store proper, and coat doors and windows with clear plastic film.
Replace fluorescent and metal halide lights with efficient CFLs or LEDs.
Shingles equipped with photovoltaic cells transform sunlight directly into electricity using semiconductors.
Solar energy can potentially pay for itself, although it is currently considered cost prohibitive for many.
Wind paired with solar is the ultimate solution, although cost is an issue.
With public bathrooms in frequent use and small restaurants often located on the premises, many convenience stores use a significant amount of water.
Try some of these solutions to reduce water waste:
• Install low-flow toilets and faucets.
• Install movement-sensitive faucets that turn off after a number of seconds.
• Install water bottle fillers rather than wasteful water faucets.
• Replace old kitchen appliances with more energy efficient models.
• Plant native plants or use xeriscape landscaping for a more drought-tolerant landscape.
Recycling gives paper another chance, but it is even more effective to use less paper. Use an app to generate coupons, add QR codes to products, and give out receipts only on request.
For co-workers, use direct deposit rather than printing checks.
In the bathroom, install energy-efficient hand dryers rather than offering paper towels.
Install a Car Charging Port
Add charging ports for electric vehicles. The 20 minutes it takes to charge a car is a perfect time for consumers to shop in your store.
Your heating and air conditioning system is a huge consumer of energy. Updating to a modern system will save you money in only a few years.
While many of these changes may seem elaborate or expensive, even the smallest steps make a difference. The money you save on small changes will add up over time, giving you the revenue to tackle larger issues. Look for more green solutions from Pollock Orora by visiting our website or calling us at 800-843-7320.