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Did you know the average grocery store or food market in the Midwest spends nearly $40,000 per year on electricity and natural gas? Bundling upgrades and saving on improvements is easier than ever with the Small Business Express program, which connects you with qualified contractors and rebates to create lasting energy efficiency savings for your grocery store or food market.

What uses the most energy in grocery stores and food markets

The following pie charts illustrate which grocery store and food market activities use the most energy and cost the most. Refrigeration accounts for a large portion. Electricity end uses include (from the top, counterclockwise): 1% space heating, 5% miscellaneous, 1% computing, 72% refrigeration, 6% cooking, 7% lighting, 6% ventilation and 2% space cooling. Natural gas end uses include (from the top, counterclockwise): 2% miscellaneous, 29% cooking, 4% water heating and 64% space heating.

Electricity End Uses

Grocery Store Electricity Usage breakdown

Natural Gas End Uses

Grocery Store Gas Usage breakdown

What's costing grocery stores and food markets the most 

End Uses Average Electric Cost/Month Average Gas Cost/Month Energy Savings Potential
Refrigeration $2,111 -
Space Heating, Cooling and Ventilation $264 $254
Cooking $176 $115
Lighting $205 -
Small Business Express is here to lend a hand
Small Business Express makes it easy for you to get professional guidance to identify energy-saving opportunities. Eligible rebates can help lower your out-of-pocket cost to replace failing equipment, and help you save energy and money long term.

Ways to Save

gray icon of refrigerator
Refrigeration equipment is the largest energy user in a typical grocery store or food market, with a monthly cost of over $2,000.
  • Simple: Check and replace seals around walk-in coolers and freezers. Check temperature settings to ensure they are at recommended levels; between -14° and -8°F for freezers, and 35° and 38°F for refrigerators. Clean cooling coils on the back of all units to ensure efficient operation. 
  • Low cost: Service your refrigeration equipment every two years to ensure refrigeration levels have not decreased and the system is working properly. Install plastic strip curtains or swinging plastic doors on walk-in units to reduce the amount of heat entering when doors are open.  
  • Capital investment: Upgrade to ENERGY STAR® certified reach-in refrigerator and freezer models. Install anti-sweat heater controls for glass door coolers or freezers. Replace inefficient motors with electronically commutated motors in walk-in and reach-in coolers and freezers. Install floating head pressure controls for compressors. Install a waste heat recovery system to capture waste heat from refrigeration equipment to heat water for store use. Install display case shields to reduce refrigeration usage and keep products colder.
gray icon of a space heater
Space Heating, Cooling and Ventilation
Heating and cooling equipment is another area with a variety of methods to save energy and money.
  • Simple: Seal around windows and doors with new caulk and weather stripping every few years.
  • Low cost: Service equipment and change filters regularly.
  • Capital investment: Replace existing heating and cooling equipment with new, energy-efficient equipment. Add insulation to ensure cool or warm air stays inside after sealing windows and doors. Implement advanced rooftop controls by retrofitting existing packaged rooftop air units to reduce heating, cooling and fan energy usage. 
stove icon
Cooking equipment costs $291 per month in both electric and natural gas for a typical grocery store or food market. There are a variety of methods to lower this cost.
  • Simple: Turn cooking equipment off during idle time.
  • Low cost: Ensure all equipment is maintained and functioning properly. Install electric igniters on gas stoves.
  • Capital investment: Upgrade to ENERGY STAR certified equipment, such as ENERGY STAR certified ovens, steamers, hot food-holding cabinets, rice cookers and hoods.
LED Light Bulb gray icon
Lighting upgrades can be implemented to save energy and money, as well as reduce maintenance.
  • Simple: Turn lights off when a space is not in use.
  • Low cost: Install motion sensors in restrooms or other less frequently used rooms to turn off lights automatically.
  • Capital investment: Replace incandescent and fluorescent lights with LEDs to see savings of up to 50%! LEDs also have a longer life span resulting in fewer replacements. LED refrigerated display case lighting systems can be further optimized by installing motion sensors so cases are only illuminated when people are present.
Two men in vests and hard hats looking at an energy management system in the control room of a building

See how your grocery store or food market compares

Energy Use Intensity (EUI) is a common measure used to benchmark a building’s energy use as a factor of its size. To calculate EUI for your grocery store or food market, total your electric bills for one year, then divide by your building’s square footage; repeat for natural gas. If the score is lower than those listed below, you are using less energy than most.
Average EUI for grocery stores and food markets in the Midwest
Natural Gas
46 kWh/square foot
0.81 therms/square foot
Call us today at 800-432-8583 to learn about tools that can help you with benchmarking your facility. 
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