Retail and supermarkets

Energy costs, especially for lighting and refrigeration, can be a major portion of operating costs for most retailers, especially major stores and supermarkets. Upgrading lighting is the single most effective measure for reducing energy usage, with typical energy savings ranging from 15 to 60 per cent.

Top tips for improving energy efficiency

  1. Lighting. Replacing standard lights with LEDs will not only reduce energy usage by 15 to 60 per cent, but will also improve employee safety because of increased illumination. LED lighting upgrades have resulted in a reduction in a site's 'maximum demand' charge for many businesses. Learn more about upgrading lighting.

  2. Electrical goods retailerHeating and cooling. Regular maintenance is the simplest way to help ensure heating and cooling systems are operating efficiently, particularly ensuring that heating and cooling are not operating at the same time, and that operational controls are set to turn the system off when not needed. Many of these measures offer payback periods of less than two years. And ensure temperatures are not set to high for heating and too low for cooling. Each 1°C increase of the thermostat cooling setting will save about 10 per cent on your energy usage. Learn more about improving the efficiency of HVAC systems.

  3. Display case and refrigerator lighting. Upgrading display case and refrigerator lighting to LEDs can significantly cut electricity use and result in considerable savings. LEDs in refrigerators also reduce cooling requirements and – as LEDs do not generate heat in the way that halogen, incandescent or fluorescent lights do – can reduce or eliminate condensation.

  4. Refrigerators and freezer cabinets. Improve the efficiency of refrigerators and freezer cabinets by:

    • fitting anti condensation controls to freezer cabinet doors. Paybacks of less than a year are possible for this action.
    • installing night blinds on refrigeration and freezer cabinets is a cost-effective way to save energy use. Once again paybacks are typically less than one year.
    • installing timers on display fridges. Typical payback periods are less than three months for cabinets operating 24/7. Retail businesses participating in Sustainability Victoria's resource efficiency program identified paybacks of less than three months for display cabinets operating 24/7.
  5. Learn more about improving efficiency of refrigeration equipment.

Top tips for improving materials efficiency

  1. Packaging. For the retail and supermarket sector, packaging is a considerable cost. Consider reducing packaging or redesigning packaging to use fewer materials or so it can be reused. Work with your supply chain to introduce reusable packaging this will save in costs associated with storage and disposal of packaging waste. Learn more about reducing or improving packaging.

  2. Stock and inventory management. Review inventory stock control, monitoring and tracking. While it’s important to have the right level of stock to satisfy customer needs, overstocking can lead to spoilage, outdating etc.

  3. Waste management. Save through better waste management:

    • better segregation of waste can help a business understand exactly what is being wasted, especially high value wastes, and subsequently opportunities for eliminating that waste can be investigated. Eliminating waste doesn’t just reduce disposal costs, it also saves the purchase price and storage costs, which can amount to thousands of dollars per year.
    • check waste disposal invoices to identify exactly what is being paid for in, and where appropriate renegotiate contracts to save money.

    Learn more about managing waste.

Download the content of this page as a pdf

Top tips for retail and supermarkets (PDF, 546kB)