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Zero-cost actions for retailer HVAC control

Wholesale and retail
Low cost
Payback time:
0 Year(s)
Read more
Resource savings: Energy:
Reducing the temperature by just 1 °C can cut energy consumption by 8 %
Associated cost savings: Energy:
5 - 8%
Size of company:
Micro (less than 10), Small (less than 50), Medium (less than 250), Large (more than 250)
Advancement in applying resource efficiency measures:
What is in it for you:
Improve energy efficiency, save on costs, boost customer comfort
Descriptive information:

Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are designed to make a building more comfortable for its occupants. In the case of retail businesses that means customers and staff. Several zero-cost measures can be included to improve energy management control in retail organisations.

Useful HVAC controls include:

  • In winter, customers are likely to be wearing outdoor clothing and there is a risk of them being uncomfortably warm, which could reduce their time browsing and shopping in the store. Switch off or set thermostats to around 19°C (reducing the temperature by just 1° C can cut energy consumption by 8 %). 
  • In summer, customers are likely to be lightly dressed and hence may become uncomfortably cool and spend less time browsing. Hold off using cooling systems until the temperature exceeds 24° C.
  • Take advantage of natural ventilation and free cooling to halve energy costs.
  • Shut down the heating or air conditioning an hour before closing. The heat trapped in the store should be enough to last until the end of the day.
  • Turn down HVAC systems for the periods when the store is closed. Also, reduce heating or cooling to a minimum in the non-public areas of your premises.
  • Use automatic timers to regulate the temperature and shut it down outside trading hours.
  • Don’t let heating and cooling operate at the same time.
  • Ensure that any entrance over door heaters or air curtains are switched off outside trading hours. Fit a time switch if necessary.
  • Ensure heating, ventilation and extraction controls match your trading hours and do not run unnecessarily out of these hours.
  • Switch off space-heating boilers in summer and chillers in winter, if possible.
  • Install sensors and automatic doors to reduce heat loss from open doors in cold climates.
  • Replace inefficient old heaters and air conditioners. Newer models reduce energy consumption.
  • Regular cleaning of ventilation systems can increase efficiency by as much as 25 % compared with unmaintained systems.

Carbon Trust, 2018, Retail and distribution energy efficiency guide, https://www.carbontrust.com/resources/guides/sector-based-advice/retail-...

Schoenberger H., Galvez Martos J. L., Styles D. 2013, Best Environmental Management Practice in the Retail Trade Sector, https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/en/publication/eur-scientific-and-technical-res...

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