The Community Mercantile is an energy-savvy cooperative grocery store located in Lawrence, Kansas. In 2000, the co-op was selected for an Energy Star award for small businesses based on energy-efficiency retrofits and appliance upgrades made to its 18,000 square-foot facilities. By replacing old, inefficient lighting, HVAC systems, and refrigerators, the store’s operations manager was able to save 714,286 kilowatt-hours of electricity a year, at a cost savings of about $55,000 annually. These cost savings led to a combined simple payback period of 3.5 years for all upgrades. Specific measures taken included the replacement of incandescent lighting with fewer and more-efficient compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs); the replacement of old, inefficient HVAC and refrigeration units with efficient new models; the installation of window screens to reduce solar gain; and the installation of covers for open refrigerated cases to reduce energy consumption when the store is closed. The operations manager also established an appropriate maintenance schedule to help ensure the continued efficient operation of the new equipment.
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