DRESDEN, Germany (FNS) -- J. Sainsbury plc and its Shaw's Supermarkets subsidiary in East Bridgewater, Mass., are rolling out an energy-monitoring system design to identify and correct wasteful energy practices.
Sainsbury has installed the technology in 300 of its 365 food stores in the United Kingdom and Shaw's will begin installing it in six stores over the next few months, said Ian Williamson, Sainsbury's building services engineering manager. The company also plans to install energy-monitoring systems in its London headquarters.
Williamson detailed the development of the system at the third CIES International Conference on the Environment here late last month. The two-day conference attracted 165 delegates from food retailers, suppliers and consultants.
Sainsbury had employed various tactics in the past to reduce energy usage, including employee incentive programs and the use of heat recovery systems, heat pumps and high efficiency lighting.
"But we determined the key to cutting energy consumption is measuring what you are using and targeting a goal," Williamson said, adding Sainsbury then began doing statistical analyses of its energy usage and preparing monthly targets.
Its initial target was energy savings of $1.56 million (1 million pounds) a year and it already has saved $1.25 million (800,000 pounds) so far in 1996, Williamson said. Its savings target for 1997 is $2.34 million (1.5 million pounds).
The key to the system is real-time monitoring via 12 to 15 meters located throughout each store. Williamson estimated that a 15-meter system could generate energy savings of 5% to 10% annually.
The meters allow targets to be set with a variety of parameters, including weather patterns and customer traffic levels. The meters can be set to provide readings at 15-minute intervals and these are automatically fed into the company's headquarters computer system via electronic mail.
Daily reports then are produced for each store, showing problem areas and the annualized cost of each error, Williamson said.
"Typical reasons for errors include poor housekeeping, nonstandardized operating procedures and manual overrides of automatic systems," he said.
"The key in terms of energy savings is to fix it within 24 hours of the problem. As we refine the system, we could send error reports back to stores within two hours of a problem occurring."
The energy monitoring system was developed by Sainsbury at a cost of $2.8 million U.S. (1.8 million pounds) and was supported by a $780,000 grant from the European Union under its Thermie program for innovative energy technologies. The monitoring software was developed by Force 12 Solutions of Cambridge, England.
Sainsbury expects energy savings to recover the investment costs in less than two years.
Meanwhile, Williamson's team is developing a store design driven by energy usage based on wind turbines, photovoltaic cells and recycling facilities. The goal of the design is to cut store energy consumption by 50% and Williamson now is trying to get Sainsbury board approval to construct a store to the design.