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Retail energy efficiency starts with Hodgkinson Bennis

retail energy efficiency
Hodgkinson Bennis helps retail energy efficiency

It seems as if every recent media story about the retail sector is negative. With the advent of internet retailers, many high-street traders struggle with increasingly tight trading conditions. Many well-known brands have collapsed; even when they’ve escaped closure, many others are under pressure. Against this backdrop, it’s vital to reduce costs and increase margins.

In retail and distribution businesses, energy costs are a small percentage of turnover. But for many, saving energy is an easy win. Research by the Carbon Trust shows that three areas together account for around 80% of the sector’s average energy spend. These are heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), cooled storage, and lighting. Other companies are best placed to improve the latter elements of retail energy efficiency through better insulation, low-energy lighting, and modern refrigeration equipment. For the rest, look to Hodgkinson Bennis.

Retail energy efficiency starts with better HVAC

For many retail businesses, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) operate in opposition to each other, rather than working coherently. A new boiler and HVAC equipment is one obvious place to start reducing long-term retail energy usage. We are experts at fitting and commissioning new plant while allowing retailers to maintain service with minimum disruption. We can also outline incentives to fit new equipment. The government’s Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive is designed to subsidise commercial businesses which install a biomass boiler. Smaller and medium-sized establishments may also qualify for a Carbon Trust loan to install new energy-efficient equipment.

We may also be able to redesign a hot water system. As water is a metered and controllable resource, it’s possible to save on both water and energy costs by implementing inexpensive efficiency measures. Rationalising pipework will save people having to run the water in bathrooms until it becomes hot. And for stored hot water, we can help to set appropriate hot water temperatures. The optimum temperature for is 60ºC, which is adequate to kill Legionella bacteria and is sufficiently warm to use.

Controlling temperatures boosts energy efficiency

One crucial area for retail environments is maintaining the right temperature during opening hours. Retail operations often overheat stores in winter to accommodate staff in short-sleeved uniforms, while customers are wearing warmer clothing. This can be a particular problem for food retailers with open refrigerators, or a shop which keeps its doors permanently open. At other times, especially during transitions between seasons, heating and cooling systems operate in conflict with each other. One solution is a temperature ‘dead band’: heating switches off once the temperature reaches 20ºC, but cooling comes in only when the temperature exceeds 23ºC.

Hodgkinson Bennis can fit the very latest control equipment to address all these problems. For larger stores, it’s worth considering a comprehensive building management system (BMS) which can reduce energy costs by over 10%. A BMS is a network of heating and ventilation controllers that are interfaced with a computer. For smaller stores, a compensator automatically regulates heating temperature based on outside conditions, while an optimum start controller learns how quickly the building reaches the desired temperature. For even smaller operations, a simple timer switch can even cover times when staff members are replenishing stock outside regular opening hours.

Operating at peak efficiency through planned preventive maintenance

We’re also experts at managing systems so they operate at peak efficiency. For boilers, we can devise a servicing schedule, which will include annual safety checks for gas equipment. We’ll make sure that heating and hot water are distributed correctly, by maintaining pipework. Proper maintenance will minimise the risk of a major system malfunction. But should you need emergency repairs, we’re on hand for those too.

Getting buy-in for retail energy efficiency

The first step to good energy management is to make sure that everyone understands its importance, and the benefits it brings. Commitment to energy efficiency has to come from the top and should be backed up by a personalised mission statement and energy policy. All staff are important in saving energy; motivate staff to feel their efforts make a difference, and that energy saving isn’t too technical. Ask their opinions and encourage them to review their own working practices to increase energy savings. The best ideas often come from the shop floor, so competitions, campaigns and team projects are great ways to get buy-in.

As an energy saving programme gathers momentum, it will be possible to track progress and highlight energy savings. It’s vital to set ambitious but realistic targets; while most UK businesses could reduce energy consumption by 10-40%, perhaps start with 5% per year. As patterns of energy use vary throughout the day, it is advisable to carry out a series of walk-rounds at different times to get a better idea of where and when energy is being wasted. And just as maintenance is crucial for boiler equipment, resolving any housekeeping and other maintenance issues early can avoid expensive problems later on.

Hodgkinson Bennis can be part of retail energy efficiency, from fitting a boiler or new control equipment and beyond. Contact one of our team today to find out more.

About Hodgkinson Bennis approach to retail energy efficiency

Hodgkinson Bennis designs, installs and maintains the most fuel-efficient commercial and industrial boilers. Headquartered in Manchester, we work across the UK, particularly in the North West, North East and throughout the Midlands. Contact us today to discuss how we can deliver advanced commercial and industrial boilers, and our range of other services.

At Hodgkinson Bennis, we have worked with commercial and industrial boilers since 1872. This history gives us an enviable amount of experience as pioneers in the industry. We place an enormous emphasis on ensuring the health and safety of all team members, suppliers, contractors, and the public. We provide the most fuel-efficient boiler solutions for industrial and commercial applications.


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