Reduce energy costs

6 Products That Help Reduce Energy Costs in Grocery and Convenience Stores

By David J. Alexander

On average, lighting and refrigeration account for 75% of the electricity usage in a grocery or convenience store.1 Those costs can accumulate quickly, as a host of energy-consuming devices, ranging from outdoor signage to food and beverage refrigeration, are often relied on heavily in these businesses.

Improving lighting and refrigeration energy efficiency in grocery and convenience stores can easily translate into higher profits. And as the market for energy efficient technology has rapidly expanded in recent years, the opportunities to streamline grocery store energy efficiency and convenience store energy efficiency are more numerous than ever. Here are six lighting and refrigeration product recommendations to improve energy efficiency in grocery and convenience stores.

Lighting product recommendations

Commercial lighting retrofits can reduce lighting energy consumption in grocery and convenience stores by 30-50%. Those same lighting retrofits can lower storewide cooling energy loads by 10-20%, since modern lighting gives off less heat.2

Some of the most effective and least costly ways to make grocery store lighting and convenience store lighting more efficient include:

1. Light bulb replacement

Reducing lighting costs is as easy as screwing in a light bulb. Light-emitting diode (LED) screw-in replacement bulbs have become cheaper in recent years. At the same time the quality and performance continues to improve.3 Since LEDs have longer life spans, simply replacing old or burnt-out light bulbs with LED screw-in replacements lowers maintenance time and cost. LEDs give off less heat than those older bulbs, which lowers cooling costs.

High-performance low wattage T8 linear fluorescent bulbs offer similarly strong results. Fluorescent bulbs and fixtures are the standard for most grocery store lighting and convenience store lighting. That makes switching to new, low-wattage T8 linear fluorescent bulbs and fixtures a 30-second to 3-minute chore that will pay heavy dividends well into the future.

2. LED refrigerated case lighting

LED refrigerated case lighting provides several important energy efficiency and operational upgrades. LED refrigerated case lighting requires less energy than its technological predecessors, and when installed, the decrease in heat emissions outside of the case will result in lower cooling costs.

Walmart replaced the existing refrigerated case lighting in 500 of its stores with LED refrigerated case lighting employing occupancy sensors. Those 500 stores experienced a 70% drop on average in refrigerated case energy consumption.4

3. Occupancy sensors

Many grocery and convenience store lighting remains on throughout the store even when there is no activity or intermittent use. One of the most effective ways to accomplish the goal of lowering lighting energy waste is to install occupancy sensors in areas that experience only intermittent use.

Refrigeration product recommendations

Grocery store refrigeration and convenience store refrigeration represent almost 60% of those businesses energy consumption.5 Due to that high number, there have been huge strides made in the ways that grocery and convenience stores can curtail that consumption – both in terms of products and practices – and thus cut costs.

A few of those products and practices include:

1. Packaged heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) unit controls

Advanced digital economizer controls (ADECs), demand control ventilation (DCV) and enhanced ventilation controls (EVCs) are three of the most popular packaged HVAC unit controls on the market. ADECs, DCV and EVCs provide grocery and convenience store owners and managers near-pinpoint control of their building's HVAC performance, and may provide real-time information about HVAC system performance.

EVCs are attached to packaged HVAC units and they update staff on HVAC energy usage patterns, loads and equipment health. DCV and EVCs manage ventilation energy loads according to building needs.

2. Refrigerator door seals and automatic door closers

Repeated fluctuations in temperature can lead to damaged products and higher energy costs. Combat this problem by making sure refrigerator doors seal properly when closed. Installing automatic door closers and regularly checking door seals to see if they are maintaining their integrity are two of the most effective ways of reducing leaks and wasting energy.

3. Anti-sweat heater controls

Anti-sweat heater controls heat refrigerator doors in order to prevent buildup of condensation. Anti-sweat controls monitor the temperature and/or humidity in the store, running the heater only when there is a risk of condensation. According to the ENERGY STAR Building Manual for Supermarkets and Grocery Stores, installing anti-sweat heater controls has reduced one San Francisco-area grocery store chain's electricity consumption by 30,000 kilowatt-hours per year on its 120 linear feet of refrigerated display-case doors.6

In order to successfully complete energy efficiency projects, it's important to have the right information. Download PG&E's "3 Ways to Get the Best Results from Energy Efficiency Projects" eBook to learn about other products and technologies to consider.


  1. E Source
  4. Pacific Gas and Electric Company
  5. E Source
  6. E Source

Reduce energy costs with 6 products suited for convenience and grocery stores.
  • SMB Blog Author
    David J. Alexander
    Senior Product Manager of Customer Energy Solutions for PG&E, plays a large role in the products and solutions that support SMBs. Involved in the company's energy-efficiency programs since 2006, Dave is also an energy solutions manager for the field engineering services team. He's been instrumental in the design and launch of PG&E's initial LED-focused programs and continues to serve as one its leading lighting experts in the field.

Stay Informed

  • Energy Advisor eNewsletter
    Sign up for PG&E's monthly Energy Advisor for Business eNewsletter to stay informed of the latest news and tools for managing your business's energy use and costs.
    Subscribe »
  • Sustainability Journey
  • In the Dark? Receive Outage Alerts
  • My Energy Usage