Save energy in your retail business

  

Energy and gas costs continue to rise, leaving businesses like shops, supermarkets, hardware stores, car dealers and service stations feeling financially strained.

The good news is that retail businesses can significantly reduce their energy bills by becoming more energy efficient.

Reducing energy use in your business can:

  • save you money
  • give you a competitive edge
  • create more business
  • help the environment.

The figures on this page come from our Boosting Business Productivity program. We worked with more than 300 businesses to explore their energy use and minimise their energy cost.

Understand where you’re currently using energy

First, understand where your business is using the most energy, so you can find ways to reduce and save.

In the retail industry, common areas that use the most energy are:

  • refrigeration and cool rooms
  • lighting
  • heating and cooling
  • appliances.

Learn how to measure your current energy use >

Ways to reduce energy costs

1. Install timers and adjust temperature on display cabinets and fridges

Some of your refrigerators may be running when not needed.

When empty or not in use, switch off equipment like:

  • cool rooms
  • drinks fridges
  • freezers.

Make sure equipment is set to the correct temperature, based on the manufacturer’s recommendations. Regularly maintain door seals to avoid losing cool air.

Find more ways to manage your refrigeration >

Benefits

On average, retail businesses installing timers to refrigeration equipment found they:

  • spent less than $2500 to implement
  • saved more than $5800 annually
  • took less than 1 year to pay back
  • saved more than 30 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

2. Install motion detectors and timers to control your lighting

Lighting can add up to 50% of your energy bill.

Instead of relying on your staff to switch of lights, install a system that will do the work for you.

Find more ways to manage your lighting costs >

Benefits

On average, retail businesses installing motion detectors and timers to control lighting found they:

  • spent less than $1500 to implement
  • saved up to $1500 annually
  • took less than 1 year to pay back
  • saved more than 5 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

3. Upgrade to LED lighting

LED lighting is more than 60% more efficient and requires less maintenance than fluorescent and halogen lighting.

Find more ways to manage your lighting costs >

Benefits

On average, retail businesses upgrading to LED lighting found they:

  • spent less than $7500 to implement
  • saved up to $5000 annually
  • took less than 1.5 years to pay back
  • saved more than 25 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

4. Use heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) more efficiently

Managing the way you heat and cool your space can reduce your energy bill by up to 50%.

Set the thermostat to:

  • 24°C in summer
  • 20°C in winter.

One degree higher or lower can add 5–10% to your heating and cooling bill.

Try a lower air flow. The lower it is the less energy it uses.

Limit heat entry or loss through:

  • draught proofing
  • insulation
  • shading
  • window tinting.

Find more ways to manage heating and cooling >

Benefits

On average, retail businesses managing heating and cooling more efficiently found they:

  • spent less than $7500 to implement
  • saved more than $5000 annually
  • took less than 1.5 years to pay back
  • saved almost 25 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

5. Invest in renewable energy

You can switch to renewable energy by:

  • investing in solar PV (photovoltaics)
  • asking your energy provider about renewable energy options.

To get the most competitive offer for renewable energy, compare electricity and gas providers.

Download the Clean Energy Council guide to installing solar (PDF, 1.6MB).

For help investing in solar, you can get finance. Environmental Upgrade Finance allows you or your building owner to borrow money from a financier to install solar on your site. You then make repayments through your local council rates system.

Find out more about Environmental Upgrade Finance >

Benefits

On average, retail businesses switching to renewable energy found they:

  • spent less than $45,000 to implement
  • saved more than $9000 annually
  • took less than 4.5 years to pay back
  • saved more than 45 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.

What else can you do?

Get an energy audit

Hire a professional energy consultant to review your energy bills and the way your business operates. They’ll identify where you’re losing energy and what you can do about it.

Through our Boosting Business Productivity program, on average, a business in the retail industry:

  • spent $6500 on an energy audit
  • identified a savings of 30% of their total energy bill
  • identified $24,000 of annual savings.

Find an energy auditor near you >

Get energy-specific finance

There are a range of finance options that help businesses invest in energy efficient equipment. They range from a simple bank loan to an agreement between you and your service provider.

Learn about energy finance >

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  • grants and funding
  • energy saving tips
  • waste and recycling tips.

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