Building Automation in Retail: Cost savings are only the beginning!
Retailers worry about energy costs, and no wonder. In the U.S., the retail industry spends more on energy than any other commercial sector. But if you lease your building, or run a large enterprise with legacy buildings everywhere, what can you do?
A new white paper, New Building Automation Technology Means ROI for Retailers, authored by the experts at Schneider Electric addresses this important question and explains how retailers can achieve direct, bottom-line ROI by upgrading their building controls with the latest smart devices and wireless communications. This is a must-read for retail executives who want to improve their profit margins by reducing one of their largest costs—energy consumption.
For example, fairly simple upgrades to controllers, valve actuators and software can often reduce energy costs by as much as 30%, with an ROI measured in months. But, as important as these energy savings are, many retailers like the operational savings even more.
Beyond the energy savings
If you run a small or medium-sized store or chain, you know all too well the lost time and operational hassles that come with energy-related problems. A boiler fails in winter? You have to get to the store, deal with the crisis, possibly close the store and lose business. Just as bad, you have to pay a premium for emergency repairs. For any retail business selling perishables—like grocery stores and restaurants—the amount of revenue lost quickly adds up and in some cases, you can be out of business for days.
It’s no easier for a large enterprise. You may have a corporate facilities manager, but with stores scattered everywhere, energy-related emergencies happen almost daily. Somebody, somewhere has to set aside whatever was planned and deal with the problem. Usually, trucks have to be dispatched to a store whenever an HVAC-related problem occurs.
The cost of these problems doesn’t show up on your balance sheet as energy costs, but they should. HVAC thermostat or equipment failures in ovens, freezers and boilers can lead to problems such as:
- Lost revenue
- Slimmer margins
- Unhappy customers
- Lost business hours
- Food contamination and spoilage
- High repair costs
As the brand new white paper from Schneider Electric explains, these problems largely disappear with building automation systems, especially if you invest a little more in building management software for monitoring and reporting. With this software, you can see when equipment is losing efficiency and performance before it fails, saving a great deal of time and hassles, not to mention store closings. With today’s smart apps, you can also check on store conditions any time you want and stay on top of energy issues.
Given the technology available today, from smart room controllers and wireless communications to the Cloud, the investment in building automation is now economical for the average retailer. That’s true even when you consider the energy costs alone, and even in leased or older buildings. When you also factor in the operational savings—and the fewer emergencies and demands on your time—the decision begins to look pretty easy.
Download the new white paper and let me know what you think!