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Innovation Helps C-Store Owners Save Energy, Money

nacsphotoNew technologies and out-of-the-box thinking are helping convenience store owners cut energy costs, reports Convenience Store Decisions magazine.

This can add up to significant energy savings across the nation with nearly 146,300 convenience stores in the U.S. as of Dec. 31, 2007, according to the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), in Alexandria, Virginia.

In many cases, store operators aren’t doing the basic stuff to save them on operating costs, John Noel, president of Energy & Environment LLC in Atlanta, told Convenience Store Decisions.

However, there are some store operators that use a little innovation to help reduce energy costs, reports the trade magazine. Some of them are switching to high-efficiency lighting and using passive solar architecture and solar array canopies.

In one example, when a store switched from metal halide bulbs that consumed 480 watts to T-5 fluorescent bulbs that use 265 watts, the change translated into an estimated 30 percent drop in electrical costs for lighting, along with added benefits of improved lighting and less heat in the summer, reports the journal.

Other ways to save money and the environment include installing a “living roof” to absorb rainwater and provide insulation, recycling water used in car washes, and installing an underground cistern to collect rainwater. Using skylights, energy-saving fixtures with light-emitting diodes (LEDs), and low-flow urinals and toilets add to the savings, reports the journal.

Several key areas where convenience store operators can be more energy efficient include lighting/signage, reach-in coolers, refrigeration (geothermal), HVAC (ground-source heat pumps), solar energy, monitors, and insulation, according to the article.

The publication also notes that store operators should seek tax credits for some energy-efficient installations.

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