The Manomet Grocery Stewardship Certification Program (GSC) recently partnered with the New Hampshire Grocers Association, Associated Grocers of New England and Hannaford-supplied independent markets to help grocers reduce energy waste costs.
Also supporting the energy effort was the New Hampshire Small Business Development Center and Jane’s Trust Fund, which financed the $60,000 project. The energy program benefited 21 grocery stores.
Leading the effort for Manomet was Peter Cooke, program development manager, who said the overall goal is for the store operators to increase energy efficiency and sustainability and to communicate these efforts to store employees.
Since launching in 2012, the GSC has enrolled more than 800 grocery stores in the U.S. and Canada. GSC works with grocers to engage employees on operational sustainability measures and review store-level practices and equipment with an eye to increasing energy efficiency, boosting revenue and lowering costs.
Manomet’s GSC expands into employee practices and procedures to engage all stores within a chain.
According to Cooke, the three most easily identifiable energy-saving measures in grocery stores are closing open refrigerated cases; installing more efficient walk-in coolers; and turning off appliances when they are not in use.
Cooke said the key message for the 21 independent store owners who benefited from the program was this: “You operate with a lot less profit margin. You can’t afford not to be energy inefficient.”
Cooke said there are no-cost efforts that can save an owner $15,000 to $20,000 per year.
He suggested use of invisible air curtains would keep more energy within open refrigerators. Walk-in chest doors should be properly sealed so that the coolers are not sucking in warm air. Doors should be shut when not in use. Unblocked air curtains could save an operator $2,000 per year; sealed chest doors could save $1,500 per door annually, and shutting doors when not in use could save an operator $4,100 per door annually. Just those three steps could save an operator $7,600 annually.
Manomet charges companies for energy-saving audits on a sliding scale, depending on the size of the company. For example, a company with 200 stores would be charged $175 per store or a cost of $35,000. The audits also include training sessions for employees.
ShopRite in Brooklawn, New Jersey, recently gained Manomet Grocery Stewardship Certification, which recognizes the company’s commitment to operational best practices that reduce a store’s environmental impact. This certification covers ShopRite stores located in Somers Point, Hammonton, Hillsborough Township, Livingston and Chatham Township in New Jersey.
“We have learned a lot working with GSC and have worked hard to get this certification,” said David Deets, Brooklawn ShopRite owner. “Our associates are really becoming engaged on sustainability practices and making a big difference in each of our participating stores when it comes to reducing our energy use, conserving water and minimizing food waste.”