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Cutting energy costs through efficiency improvements could yield retailers tens of millions of dollars in additional profit. 

In this age of social and corporate responsibility, customers expect the brands they believe in to have a social conscience. They should make the world a more sustainable and better place to live by preventing climate change and reducing greenhouse gases.

While many multi-national corporations have pledged to lower their carbon foot-prints by signing on to the White House climate change initiative, the “American Business Act on Climate Pledge,” government agencies are also issuing regulations to assist in meeting that goal.

In an effort to reduce greenhouse gases and slow climate change, the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) has revised its energy efficiency standards that set the maximum allowable energy consumption for specific industry segments including commercial refrigeration. The most recent standards were released in April 2014 and are scheduled to take effect March 27, 2017, giving businesses just under two years to prepare for implementation.

Most food retailers will be profoundly impacted by having to meet the new maximum energy consumption standard required for cooler and freezer doors based on door size, which are more stringent than current standards in effect since 2012.

Fortunately for food and beverage retailers, new technology is being introduced to meet these new standards for cooler doors while providing enhanced merchandising visibility for better product positioning.

A key new technology is vacuum insulated glass (VIG) that provides 70 percent more energy efficiency over current standard door products. These new doors not only meet the 2017 DOE standards, but their energy savings provide a quick two-year ROI through an immediate reduction in utility costs.

In addition, these new doors are classified as “Zero Energy Doors” meaning they require no energy to provide excellent insulation and anti-condensation capabilities. New, specialized coatings on interior door glass prevent fogging without power even in humid environments. An additional advantage is lower maintenance and operational costs due to fewer anti-condensate wear parts.

The next generation energy-efficient doors also provide a much wider merchandise viewing area for greater product visibility than traditional doors. This results in more sales and greater customer satisfaction through easily viewable merchandise selections.

While the new commercial refrigeration standards require challenging reductions in energy usage, food and beverage retailers stand to benefit in a number of ways:

INCREASED PROFITABILITY: A U.S. government Energy Star study found that super-markets are the most electricity-intensive type of commercial building, and their energy costs are the second highest expenditure behind labor. Of those energy costs, the greatest portion is for refrigeration at 56 percent. A 10 percent reduction in energy costs can increase net profit by as much as 16 percent.

INCREASED SALES: Keeping cool air contained in refrigerator cases with efficiently insulated and/or energy-free doors provides a more comfortable environment for shoppers, eliminating cold microclimates in aisles. A more comfortable shopping experience will lengthen customer shopping dwell times, increasing overall in-store sales.

REDUCED IMPACT OF ENERGY PRICE FLUCTUATIONS: When less of the operating budget is spent on energy, electricity price fluctuations such as in the event of major weather anomalies or new regulations will have much less financial impact.

FOOD SAFETY: Highly efficient coolers holding perishable goods at proper temperatures more uniformly reduce the possibility of premature product spoilage and decrease inventory waste.

article Anthony DOE Standards GroceryHqtrs Apr16 pdf

Jeff Brooks is national accounts manager for Anthony, a Dover Co. He can be reached at

POSITIVE PUBLIC IMAGE: Retailers can show they are reducing their energy usage and carbon footprint to help the environment and maintain a more sustainable business model.

On March 27, 2017, the grocery and convenience store industry will be required to meet new, more stringent DOE commercial refrigeration standards for individual cooler and freezer doors. While the mandate may seem formidable, the refrigeration door manufacturing industry has innovated Zero Energy Door solutions that not only exceed the new standards but also reduce operating costs while increasing merchandising opportunities with panoramic viewing. Cooler doors equipped with VIG and zero energy anti-condensation coatings are available today and provide ROI, lower operating costs and a practical, cost-effective way to demonstrate corporate sustainability in a more environmentally- and socially-conscious world.