Supermarket Perimeter - October 2020 - 58

OPERATIONS

ENERGY
EFFICIENCY

by Andy Nelson

DURING THE COVID
PANDEMIC, the need to find
efficiencies in how businesses
operate has become more
important than ever, as many
companies struggle just to keep
their doors open.
Adding energy efficiencies
is not only good for the
environment, it's also good for
the bottom line.
In the past few years, there
has been a greater shift to
commissaries supporting
retail grocers, similar to the
convenience store model,
said Jeremy Klysen, business
development manager for Kansas
City, Mo.-based construction
engineering company Burns &
McDonnell.
Efficiency has been a big
reason why.
"There has been a growing
need to switch to that model
to increase efficiency," he said.
"When you consolidate food
preparation for several stores into
one commissary, the end product
becomes more consistent and
quality control is improved, since
products come from a single
location."

When businesses transition
to that model, they're also
increasing their space within
an existing store, so there's no
longer a need to expand the store
footprint, added Bryan Allen,
a Burns & McDonnell project
manager.
The firm is seeing larger
third-party warehouses pushing
more toward automation to
better match up against the
retail market. These strides
to automate, Klysen said, also
help improve energy and other
efficiencies.
Many lighting systems are now
powered by LED and are motionactivated, Allen said. When
walking through a grocery store,
for instance, reach-in cases are
often dim until you walk by, thus
improving energy efficiency.
"While using LED and motionsensitive lighting isn't a new
concept, it's become a lot more
affordable throughout the past
10-15 years, so it is employed
across a broader spectrum of
facilities," Allen said.
Compressors or cases used to
hold foods are usually a lower
priority when it comes to energy

efficiency, as greater emphasis
is placed on labor efficiency and
capital investment, Klysen said.
However, there is a stronger
push to switch to carbon
dioxide and glycol systems for
refrigeration within compressors,
as both systems are natural
refrigerants and more energy
efficient.
In terms of carbon dioxide
systems, Burns & McDonnell
is seeing a switch from giant
refrigeration racks to increased
numbers of point-of-use
condensers, which allow for
greater flexibility in load and
greater control of identifying
potential issues - such as leaks -
and resolving them quickly.
"Additionally, a goal for many
stores is to keep compressors
and cases frost-free," Allen said.
"To mitigate that risk, there is
a focus on dehumidification
within stores, which requires
evaluating outside air units and
how they work with refrigeration
equipment." Many stores have
large loading docks in the back
of the facility, directly connected
to the building. That being said,
it can be challenging to regulate
external air pressure so the air
from the dock doesn't leak into
the store, Allen added.

A "moving target"
As technologies evolve and
building codes change,
energy efficiency is a moving
target for retail grocers

and their commissary and
supplier partners, said Chad
Ott, co-president/owner of
Storemasters LLC.
"A focus on conversions of
old systems and equipment is a
continuing process we address
for each situation," Ott said. "If a
store has outdated equipment or
systems we urge retailers/owners
to reinvest."
Oftentimes, he added, the
ROI is something that is realized
quickly by how much businesses
can save on putting in energy
efficient products.
Storemasters stresses to
its clients the importance of
using up to date systems and
reinvestment in energy efficiency
whenever possible. Each project
has criteria where the firm makes
suggestions on how money that
is currently being spent can be
reanalyzed by investing into
newer technology.
"In a recent new store project
in Tennessee, we worked with
the owners to incorporate a
Building Management System
that allowed for communication
of the systems to work together,"
Ott said. "The building's HVAC,
lighting, refrigeration and overall
electrical systems work together."
Through the use of controllers
that communicate between
the systems, Storemasters was
able to manage these systems
through set points that maximize
efficiency based on actual need.
Lighting based on need,

While using LED and motion-sensitive
lighting isn't a new concept, it's become a
lot more affordable throughout the past 1015 years, so it's employed across a broader
spectrum of facilities." Bryan Allen, Burns & McDonnell
58 - OCTOBER 2020

SP_Oct20.indb 58

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Supermarket Perimeter - October 2020

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