Food retail stores such as grocery stores and supermarkets are all too aware of the amount of energy that goes into powering their freezers and refrigerated units, and the cost of an unexpected product loss. Not to mention the monitoring and control of the rest of a building’s HVAC system, and lighting as well. These stores can be proactive, however, in managing their energy use to be more efficient while also being able to control system parameters and monitor system performance.

Greater energy efficiency can be achieved with an energy management system (EMS), which may also be referred to as a Building Automated System (BAS). Installing this type of system is an investment that can range from as small as a standalone temperature control for a single refrigerated display case to as large as a whole-building control center for complete system monitoring.

Frozen food displays at a grocery store.
Choosing the right one and using it to optimize efficiency in energy consumption can reap big savings, making it well worth the investment.

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Get a Firmer Grip onEnergy Consumption and Product Monitoring

In commercial buildings or facilities where food preservation is an essential aspect of business operations, energy consumption is a significant cost of doing business. This can be viewed as a problem, or it can be viewed as an opportunity. Being proactive by taking control of energy use with the right energy management system is how food retailers gain a competitive advantage in performance through greater efficiency.

The savings realized by investing in an EMS can be significant. How significant? One white paper study in Seattle found that on average, 93% of electricity used in grocery and convenience stores goes to refrigeration (60%), lighting (18%), and HVAC (15%). By investing in an EMS solution, grocery stores can achieve a 10% reduction in energy use with a corresponding boost in profit margins by 10%. Given the razor-thin profit margins that already exist in food retailing, the impact on profitability is nothing short of incredible.

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The Biggest Barrier to EMS:The Payback Period

What grocery store or supermarket wouldn’t want to boost their profit margins by 10%? It seems like a no-brainer. The problem, however, is often the significant up-front investment required to obtain and install an EMS and how long it takes to pay off the investment before the savings really kick in and impact the bottom line of the business. What food retail stores need to know, however, is that long payback periods are a thing of the past. These days it is possible for a grocery store to experience payback periods of less than two years, compared to what used to be five to seven years.

It’s also worth noting that depending on your location, there may be significant help available through state government incentive programs to adopt energy-saving technologies. These incentive programs may cover a significant portion of the investment, which will further reduce the overall payback period for adopting an EMS.

From Manual Setpoint Management to Digital,Data-Driven Transformation

Among traditional techniques to control energy cost is a common scenario in food retailer energy management: targeting unoccupied times by manually adjusting setpoints on the HVAC system. This seems logical, but rarely works out the way you think it should due to human operator error. The tendency is to overcompensate with setpoints, setting them either too high or too low when the building is unoccupied.

These over-adjustments take a serious toll on the building’s HVAC system. When it kicks on to reach the new setpoint for occupancy, the system is working overtime to get there. These extra-high energy draws also end up happening just when the electric utility grid is experiencing peak demand, which means the electricity rates during those times are much higher than off-peak rates. This is the paradox experienced with setpoint management. You think you’re managing energy consumption better when in reality you’re causing wear and tear by over-taxing the system while also drawing the most energy when the cost of energy is highest. It becomes a vicious cycle that not only reduces the useful life of your HVAC system but ends up increasing your energy cost in the long run.

In the digital era of the twenty-first century, the opportunity available is to take advantage of intelligent, automated control systems that rely on real-time data and predictive technology to more accurately and efficiently manage energy consumption. Manual setpoint management will simply never get you to where you want to be.

Samsun’s Go-To EMS Brands:Reliable Solutions for Your Business

The team at Samsun have the expertise and experience needed to work with all brands of EMS solutions that will save your business significant sums of money and boost profit margins. However, we have found a few EMS brands that rise to the top in the industry, including the following:

  • Emerson: Founded in 1890 in St. Louis, Missouri, as a regional manufacturer of electric motors and fans, Emerson has grown and evolved with the times into a global technology solutions provider with deep expertise in energy controls and monitoring systems for grocery stores. Check out their case study of how they saved one grocery store chain $7 million with their automated control systems.
  • Novar Controls/Honeywell: Founded in 1964 in Cleveland, Ohio, and operating as a subsidiary of Honywell since 2005, tens of thousands of sites around the world rely on Novar technology for energy management and building automation systems.
  • Danfoss: Founded in Denmark in 1933, Danfoss Engineering Tomorrow has been innovating from day one, such as the first thermostatic expansion valve for refrigeration systems. Today Danfoss is a global leader in energy efficient technologies.

Features and Examples ofEMS Solutions and Components

The array of features and components available within various EMS solutions of today is stunning. When you work with Samsun Mechanical, we’ll help you sort through the options based on your needs and requirements to choose the right EMS for your business.

Key Features

  • Refrigeration monitoring and control
  • HVAC control, lighting control, door monitoring
  • Automatic and remote monitoring services
  • Automated alerts for “user defined out of tolerance” conditions
  • Real-time and historical alarm notification
  • Improved overall energy conservation
  • Maintained measured comfort
  • Simplify building operation
  • Reduce Maintenance Costs

Example of EMS Controls

  • Compressor and condenser controllers
  • Energy management
  • Evaporator controls
  • HVAC controls
  • Multiple (HVAC/R) Control
  • Refrigeration Controls

Learn more about what Samsun Mechanical can do to put your company on track for greater profitability through operational efficiency in energy consumption optimization.

Contact us today at (317) 545-0968

To discuss quality solutions for your Energy Management System needs.

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