Smart and simple energy solutions for retailers

With electricity costs likely to double in five years, retailers need to look for smart solutions to South Africa’s electricity crisis.

Picture provided. Steven Heilbron, CEO of Capital Connect: “Making smart and sustainable energy choices doesn’t have to be complicated”

With electricity costs likely to double in five years, retailers need to look for smart solutions to South Africa’s electricity crisis.

Experts expect electricity prices to double in South Africa over the next five years, while Eskom’s medium risk scenario predicts 203 days of load shedding over the next 12 months.

Steven Heilbron, CEO of Capital Connect, says higher electricity costs and frequent power outages are significant operational risks for retailers.

“While many department stores use generators to keep running during outages, retailers should also look for sustainable alternatives against load shedding and price gouging, says Heilbron.

“Having a vision and making smart, sustainable choices doesn’t have to be complicated,” he adds.

Measures to be more energy efficient

Although implementing solutions such as solar can be expensive, the payback over three to five years can be significant.

“Solar power, combined with battery storage, can allow a retailer to continue operating during load shedding without expensive and noisy generators,” says Heilbron.

“Additionally, it has the advantage of allowing a store to save money by reducing its consumption of municipal or Eskom energy. It is also a sustainable and eco-friendly choice.

Other steps retailers can take to become more energy efficient include something as simple as installing closed doors to open perishable refrigerators or placing strip curtains between cold storage areas and the rest of the store. can make a huge difference in the amount of energy consumed by a food retailer. in a month.

Picture provided.  South Africans shop at fewer retailers but spend more per trip

There are also opportunities to save money on lighting through steps such as outfitting the retail environment with LED lighting, which is more expensive upfront than incandescent bulbs or fluorescent, but lasts longer and uses much less energy over its lifetime.

“Another simple step retailers can take is to use motion sensors to trigger lighting in low-traffic areas such as bathrooms, warehouses, and hallways,” says Heilbron.

He adds, “Energy efficient lighting has the effect of reducing the heat generated in a store, which can also help reduce air conditioning costs.”

HVAC energy efficiency

Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) is another area where retailers can make quick gains in energy efficiency.

Modern HVAC systems with smart central controls and features like heat recovery can allow a retailer to achieve the right temperature for customer comfort and food safety while ensuring efficiency.

“Even though it can be expensive to replace old refrigerators or air conditioners, the energy efficiency of refrigeration technology has improved significantly over the years.

“Many retailers may find that upgrading to energy-efficient equipment will save them money in the long run,” says Heilbron.

“Retailers can also benefit from using natural heating from the sun through large windows and natural cooling through smart ventilation rather than relying solely on artificial air conditioning,” he adds.