Company cites key help from Energy Advantage Inc., and SINGH360
BURLINGTON, Ontario — September 17, 2015 – The 38-store grocery chain Strack & Van Til has reduced its use of electricity by 26.6% in a two-store pilot program begun in 2014. Overall, the chain cut electricity use by 11.5% in 2 years for stores open more than a year. “It was critical for us to reduce one of our largest controllable expenses,” said Andy Raab, vice president real estate at SVT, LLC, which owns and operates Strack & Van Til. “We wanted to save money because we have an aggressive remodeling plan in the works.”
The challenges were considerable, Raab said. “Our stores are diverse. We have limited internal expertise in energy efficiency. And we have limited internal ability to measure and report on our energy performance and the financial impact of the actions we could take to conserve energy.”
To help deal with these challenges, SVT began working with Energy Advantage Inc. of Burlington Ontario, to design a multi-part program in 2013 to reduce energy use and cost by 10% in three years, Raab said. “They helped us assess the roadblocks in the way of good results, design the roadmap and identify and quantify the next best actions we should take.” The plan was to implement performance reporting at all levels, improve store conservation practices from the ground up, re-commission stores and implement new energy-efficiency technologies all along verifying results.
Once the program was developed, SVT turned to Energy Advantage to guide the program implementation and identify the next best actions to take. Their partner, SINGH360 of Minneapolis, was brought in to implement the energy efficiency program pieces, and the two companies provided a partnership approach in serving SVT. Energy Advantage provides the program communications, independent measurement and verification, energy and maintenance data consolidation, incentive capture and ongoing performance reporting. SINGH360 leads SVT’s implementation of efficiency measures and store recommissioning.
The chain exceeded its three-year target in just over two years. By mid-year 2015, they had cut overall electricity use by 11.5% across stores that had been operating for a year. The company calculated its savings after adjusting for differences in weather from year to year. A key part of the program was an initial two-store pilot to verify the projected results. The pilot delivered a 26.6% reduction in electricity use in the two stores, again after allowing for differences in weather.
“Energy Advantage and Singh360 helped us directly link store energy efficiency with our maintenance processes to reduce the costs of both energy and maintenance,” said Don Erminger, director of maintenance at SVT. “We are just getting started,” Erminger said. “We look forward to working with our partners at Energy Advantage and SINGH360 to help us achieve our savings targets.”
Now energy-efficiency measures are a core part of SVT’s multi-year remodelling capital program. The company continues to achieve similar results in recent store remodelling projects in Illinois and Indiana. SVT has since added nine new stores and reset their efficiency target for the next three years.
SVT, LLC, is based in Highland, Indiana. The company operates stores in northwest Indiana and the Chicago metro area. It does business under the banners Strack & Van Til, Van Til’s, Ultra Foods and Town & Country Food Market.