Company Profile

  • Company: Big Box Store
  • Business Type: Retail Chain
  • Solution:  Hardware, software, and energy advisory services
  • Results:  Centralized monitoring and superior data intelligence

Background: Implementing an ambitious sustainability strategy

Recognized as a top retailer, this Minnesota-based national chain has nearly 2000 stores and 50 supply chain facilities across the US. The average retail store is 130,000 square feet although the company is rolling out smaller format stores in higher-density areas. They offer a wide variety of products from clothing to health and beauty items to groceries and supplies for the home and they aim to deliver outstanding value, continuous innovation and exceptional guest experiences. They have an internal ESG strategy, which includes a commitment to being net zero by 2040.

To work toward their sustainability goals, an in-house engineering team has steadily tested and implemented energy-saving strategies in the retailer’s existing and new store designs since the 1990s. These include building envelope, lighting, HVAC, refrigeration, and plug load efficiency measures. The retailer subjects the Energy Efficiency Measures (EEMs) to rigorous economic analyses informed by pilots, and energy simulations to ensure they met the company’s business criteria.

Challenges: Lacking asset benchmarking to make data-driven improvements

To manage the path to net zero, the retailer was using utility bill data, engineering estimates, and energy modeling to plan, implement, and validate capital investments in energy-consuming assets and confirm ongoing operational efficiency. There were no clear benchmarks for success. Plus, significant refrigeration equipment was being deployed as part of the
retailer’s strategy to bring fresh groceries to every store, but the company did not have a portfolio-wide view of energy-consuming assets to measure the full impact on energy
usage. The company’s engineering and commissioning teams determined they would need an enterprise platform that provides asset-level, real-time data to support this deployment.
In 2008, the retailer’s engineering team engaged GridPoint. Objectives: Implementing a cost-effective, data-rich strategy that could grow into the future The retailer had a strong strategy and measurement framework in place, but needed a more streamlined and
comprehensive energy monitoring platform. They also needed to simultaneously measure energy usage at both the big-picture enterprise level and the granular asset-specific level. The energy monitoring goals included:

  • Providing a baseline and validation tool for ongoing capital investments and demand response programs
  • Obtaining data to understand how their sites functioned
  • Gaining portfolio-wide visibility into energy-consuming assets
  •  Developing outage reporting and monitoring
  • Finding a solution with a single login for the entire portfolio view
  • Ensuring accuracy and timeliness of information
  • Deploying a flexible and adaptable platform that could accommodate future investments in grid-interactive assets and energy management strategies
  • Ensuring the strategy was cost-effective so it could be scaled across all stores

Solution: Hardware, software, and energy advisory services 

GridPoint worked with the retailer to address each objective and goal. They rolled out asset-level submetering to verify and audit how much energy stores consume, understand
real-time energy use at the equipment level, and track efficiency over time. GridPoint’s submetered data enabled this retailer to better understand their facilities at granular level, guiding their sustainability strategy and making their facilities more efficient, all while rolling out their grocery concepts and pursuing long-term net-zero goals.

The retailer also engaged GridPoint’s Energy Advisory Services team to help keep their facilities running smoothly by validating savings, continually analyzing the data, identifying
efficiency opportunities, and correcting performance issues.

Results: Centralized monitoring and superior data intelligence

GridPoint’s platform enables this retailer to see enterprise-wide and asset-level data all in on convenient place to ensure their facilities are running efficiently. The longstanding relationship has highlight project success in many ways including:

Site Exception Reporting: Submetered data enables this retailer to see trends in energy consumption and identify costly exceptions; for example, the lighting schedule not
being followed or malfunctioning refrigeration equipment.

Commercial Power Pricing: By understanding drivers of peak energy use in real-time, this retailer can establish more intelligent procurement strategies, negotiate better
rates, or quickly alter behavior to avoid peak costs.

Demand Response Enablement: GridPoint’s data validates their compliance in demand response programs and determines actual reduction during an event, which in turn affects the incentive received.

Power Quality Monitoring: The asset-level data is used to identify voltage imbalances and identify situations where three-phase motor damage might be occurring. Having this data means the retailer can better protect their high-value equipment by quickly identifying the issue and preserving integrity.

Outage Visibility: Extreme weather or a natural disaster can cause power outages across many sites. This retailer has used GridPoint’s platform on various occasions to monitor sites
throughout a storm, identify sites without power, assess damage, and power back up equipment carefully after the storm passed.

Efficiency Project Tracking: When the retailer implements a new efficiency project they are able to measure the success of the project through submetered data

Electrification Strategy Development: Going fully electric means updating gas appliances or generators which increases the store’s overall energy load and costs. GridPoint’s data helps the retailer understand where they can add distributed energy resources (DERs) to help offset the load increases and help properly size the equipment.

Key Takeaways:

The retailer amplified its leadership in energy management and sustainability, met its strategic, business, and financial objectives, and built a cost-effective foundation for future expansion.

Why GridPoint:
The retailer evaluated many options for collecting and understanding asset-level energy use. Many of the options were site-specific, prohibitively expensive, or did not provide
the ability to have a portfolio view. GridPoint provided a cost-effective, enterprise solution that laid the foundation for expansion to reach long-term net-zero and sustainability goals.


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