Energy use in supermarkets and food stores
Supermarkets are among the most energy-intensive commercial buildings. Their high energy consumption is largely attributed to refrigeration and heating and cooling equipment. Energy costs are typically approximately 1% of sales, which is about the same as a store’s overall profit margin.Footnote 1
Drive up your competitive edge by reducing your energy consumption
In order to maintain your competitive edge in the food retail sector, consider a strategic plan to managing the energy in your store that starts with energy benchmarking. Energy benchmarking is a key best practice and the foundation for an effective energy management and decision-making plan. It is often an overlooked tool, yet once incorporated into your tool kit, it provides data that you can use to identify poorly performing buildings, invest strategically in energy efficient upgrades and track the effectiveness of the improvements undertaken.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Data Trends, in the U.S. more than 15,500 supermarketsFootnote 2 are benchmarking their energy performance with an average annual energy savings of more than 2%.Footnote 3 Just imagine what your store could do with 2% of its energy budget.
What you need to know before you benchmark your supermarket or food store
The ENERGY STAR® Score for Supermarkets and Food Stores in Canada applies to supermarkets, grocery stores, food sales and convenience stores with or without gas stations, but does not apply to restaurants.
To obtain a 1-100 ENERGY STAR score, in addition to your store’s basic tombstone information, you need the following building data:
- Gross floor area
- Number of cash registers
- Number of computers
- Number of workers on the main shift
- Length in meters of refrigerated/frozen food display cases
- Weather and climate (using heating and cooling degree days, based on postal code)
- Specific energy billing information for each building for all purchased energy. You will need to begin with at least 12 consecutive months for each energy source and update regularly with monthly usage data.
Note that the above information is not required to start benchmarking. You can start using the tool to track your energy performance no matter how much data you have. However, in order to obtain the 1-100 score or an energy use intensity, you need the details above.
Apply for certification
If your store earns a score of 75 or higher and meets certain other criteria, you could be eligible for ENERGY STAR certification. Learn more about certification and how you can apply.
Natural Resources Canada resources
- Canadian ENERGY STAR scores
- ENERGY STAR certification for commercial and institutional buildings in Canada
- Benchmarking technical information
- What is energy benchmarking?
- Using CO2 for Cold Distribution Storage at a Loblaw Supermarket, (Case study) (2012) [PDF - 1.47 MB]
- Benchmarking and Best Practices: Saving Energy Dollars in Stores, Supermarkets and Malls, (2003)
- Energy management training resources
- Information on Energy Efficient Products that will help reduce plug loads and use energy more efficiently throughout your office
- Canadian Grocer’s Sustainability Resource Centre
- Food and Consumer Products of Canada
- Retail Council of Canada – Energy Bright Program
- Supermarkets: An Overview of Energy Use and Energy Efficiency Opportunities [PDF – 2.3 MB], energystar.gov
- At Sobeys in Nova Scotia, lights, motors…and going green, canadiangrocer.com
- Data Trends: Energy Use in Supermarkets [PDF – 1 MB], energystar.gov
- Energy Star Portfolio Manager Can Help Make Capital Investment Decisions, facilities.net
- First LEED-Certified Canadian Supermarket [PDF - 1.42 MB], enerconcept.com
- Going waste-free in grocery stores, bizenergy.ca
- Grocery stores realize savings with reach-in cooler and freezer motor upgrades, energymanager.ca
- How will the ENERGY STAR® benefit my supermarket? [PDF – 345.6 KB], energystar.gov
- Leap of faith, canadiangrocer.ca
- Making an Impact: Environmental Sustainability Initiatives in Canada's Food, Beverage and Consumer Products Industry [PDF - 1.42 MB], fcpc.ca
The ENERGY STAR and PORTFOLIO MANAGER names and the ENERGY STAR symbol are trademarks registered in Canada by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and are administered and promoted by Natural Resources Canada.