Green Spotlight: Notes from Nancy Grant
Trying to figure out the exact energy-saving benefits of switching to something new can be tough if you try to go it alone. Are you using the right thing for your situation? How much money can you save over a year’s time? How can you figure the impact on the environment?
When Valley Natural Foods general manager Susan McGaughey needs answers to energy questions like these she calls on the helpful folks at Dakota Energy Cooperative.
Operating a grocery store presents unique energy problems. For safety, the foods and drinks in freezers and refrigerated cases must be kept at certain temperatures. Lighting within these display cases must be bright enough so shoppers can read product labels easily.
Working with Dakota Energy’s Tim Dougherty, Susan examined a new idea. Would replacing the good fluorescent lights inside the cases with new, even more efficient LED lights have measurable benefits? Turns out, the answer is “yes.” New lights will provide excellent illumination but use fewer kilowatts than the old ones. The lower operating temperatures of the new lights will also reduce the heat load inside the cases. That means even more energy savings.
With number-crunching help from the experts at the electric co-op, Susan figures that each year the new LED lights will save the food co-op more than one thousand dollars in electricity expenses – and reduce carbon dioxide emissions at power plants in the region by more than seventy thousand pounds.
Learning from the experts in the world of cooperatives is a big step on the road to a more sustainable world.
Energy journalist and blogger Nancy S. Grant is a member of the Cooperative Communicators Association.
Click here to read the Valley Natural Foods Green Report 2010.