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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,

Schoenberger H., Galvez Martos J. L., Styles D. 2013, Best Environmental Management Practice in the Retail Trade Sector,

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