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30% energy cost reduction for convenience store with energy and refrigeration upgrades

Edinburgh convenience store Goldenacre Mini Market used a combination of a grant and SME loan from Scottish Government to upgrade its lighting and refrigeration, resulting in annual electricity savings worth almost £1,800.

Goldenacre Mini Market is a convenience store located in the Goldenacre area of North Edinburgh.  The convenience store was bought over by the current proprietor, Aleem Farooqi, in 2002 – although the shop had been operating on the site for a number of years previously under different ownership. It is part of the Best-one symbol group of independent retailers, which has 1,400 members throughout the UK. A small business, Goldenacre Mini Market employs two full-time members of staff, and its best-selling items include chilled drinks.

Aleem Farooqi, the proprietor, contacted us to enquire about the process of applying for the Convenience Store Resource Efficiency Grant. Of particular interest was the store lighting, which consisted of fluorescent strip lights that gave a poor quality of light, and the refrigeration units, which were inefficient and no longer fit for purpose.

Lighting and refrigeration

Like most convenience stores, the very nature of the business means long operating hours. That means a high demand for store lighting and consequently high operating costs. Our advisor visited the site to assess their energy usage. Lighting in the building consisted of a large number, 30 in fact, fluorescent fittings, some T8 fluorescent tubes in the shop sign and a couple of high wattage incandescent bulbs in the storage area. In order to significantly reduce lighting electricity consumption, we advised replacing all lighting with LED (light emitting diode) alternatives. For similar light outputs, the LED replacements would use around 50% less electricity than the current fittings. While the initial investment cost for LED lights were at the time higher than traditional light fittings, additional cost, over and above energy savings, due to their longer life expectancy.

The shop was using one large open-fronted display refrigeration cabinet for storage and display of food and drink products as well as three freezers for customer purchase and one for storage. We suggested that the display cabinet and all freezers be replaced as the units were between 10 and 15 years old. Modern units would immediately improve operating efficiency by an estimated 30%. We also recommended that the refrigerated display cabinet be replaced with a closed unit with transparent doors which should improve energy efficiency by a further 30%.

We provided support through the grant application process, including identifying the most appropriate measures to use for obtaining quotes, completing the application form and even liaising with suppliers.

To cover the remaining costs for the refrigeration and the installation of LED lighting the store was assisted in applying for a the Scottish Government SME Loan. Both funding applications were successful and the project went ahead in April 2016, resulting in the installation of  LED lighting throughout the store and new, efficient refrigeration units capable of displaying a wider range of stock. Handy when one of the key sales lines is chilled drinks. As a result, the business has been able to reduce energy consumption, saving nearly £1,800 a year in electricity costs. In practical terms, when customers pop in for a pint of milk that costs around £0.40 the store would need to sell an awful lot of milk to make up a cost of nearly two grand on lighting – each year.

“I am absolutely delighted with the new double-glazed refrigeration cabinets and the LED lighting. I have already seen my electricity bills drop by about 30%, saving me about £1,800 a year. The support from the service helped me to identify and fund the changes to my shop and I am really happy with the results.” Aleem Farooqi, Owner, Goldenacre Mini Market.

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