It’s the most wonderful time of year… for retailers! Stores are full, cash registers are ringing, and hopefully profits are increasing. What else can increase at this time of year? Energy use and waste. However, when retailers plan carefully for the season and create a pre-holiday checklist to manage these cost areas, it will ensure a happy holiday season for businesses and consumers alike.
1.Update HVAC controls to consider weather adjustments and an increase in store traffic and then limit the number of people who can override settings. As much as a two to three-degree change in set points can drastically affect the comfort of your customers (who may be dressed for cooler weather outside) as well as the comfort of your employees. Updating settings will ensure everyone is comfortable and while keeping energy costs down.
2. Enter control changes for lighting to account for longer store hours and special events (for instance, the Friday after Thanksgiving and the week leading up to Christmas). Then remember to adjust them back once the season ends and normal hours return so you aren’t lighting empty spaces.
3. Adjust waste and recycling services to account for more inventory coming in and more materials (such as cardboard) going out so you aren’t charged for overflowing bins. Review the number of pick-ups from prior years and if needed request a one-time extra pick up to minimize costs associated with a major stocking event. Again, once activity levels off, scale back so that you aren’t paying for half-empty dumpsters.
4. Make sure employees understand their role in store operations. Designate who can request changes, who can approve or make those changes, and who will confirm the changes are made properly. Also set due dates and deadlines for completion. At the same time, empower and encourage employees to report when they see energy waste (lights on too early or too late, or energy management system settings that are not correct).
5. Communicate action plans and provide visibility. Allow everyone to review the holiday plan to gain buy-in, and give everyone regular status updates and whether there are exceptions or variances to plan.
While this is just a starting point—and the specific needs for each business will differ—making your list and checking it twice will increase your success this holiday season.