US grocery chain Lunds has cut the energy bill for its stores by some 10 per cent thanks to a new approach to control and monitoring based on Resource Data Management (RDM) systems. The company has also identified additional major opportunities to further improve the control and management of its stores, which it believes will result in even greater savings in future.
The retailer had been operating a progressive energy efficiency policy across its stores for some years. As a result, it had already identified and realized significant savings; the view was that due to such past success only relatively small and incremental savings were now possible. The challenge Lunds gave itself, was to find additional practical and cost-effective measures that would deliver worthwhile savings above and beyond those already achieved.
The company decided to investigate the potential of remote monitoring and control, coupled with energy metering. It was an area it had not focused on in the past, and felt there might be potential. It carried out evaluations of three competing systems and chose the RDM solution for three main reasons:
- Ease of use: No costly software needed. Accessible through any web browser for monitoring and programming
- Cost‐effectiveness: In its evaluation, RDM products cost 20 per cent less than rivals
- Use of open communications systems: Giving complete flexibility for future use and expansion
The Lunds team, headed by facilities maintenance manager Wally Lindeman, installed the RDM devices in six stores to meter and control electricity use and control automatic setbacks for refrigeration and HVAC systems. They were also used to provide central control for indoor and outdoor lighting.An RDM plant controller was installed near each piece of equipment to be monitored, metered or controlled. The controllers send data through a Cat5 Ethernet cable to an RDM Data Manager located in each store. The Data Manager consolidates and records readings from each of the plant controllers.
On refrigerated cases, RDM plant controllers monitor case temperatures, discharge temperatures, refrigerant pressure, relative humidity, energy load, and energy use in every store. This information is processed real time to give owners an instant glance into the energy being used by each component and/or system.
The 15 stores in which the RDM system has been installed have reduced energy consumption by an average of 10 per cent.
Looking forward, if the RDM solution was rolled out across the Lunds enterprise of 22 stores, with an estimated $4.6M electric bill, it would result in an additional $465,000 bottom-line profit each year.
The retailer calculates that the return on investment this represents is more attractive than building new stores to sell groceries. Energy-cost reduction is one of the biggest benefits of the system and the easiest to measure. However, other “soft benefits” may be worth as much or more to the chain. “I like the ease of using the system” says Wally Lindeman. He can remotely check on the status of store systems any time of the day or night. “It’s mobile and available wherever you are. You can have access to your data anywhere you have a computer and an internet connection.” The remote monitoring and control systems enable the maintenance manager and service staff to view all of the controller's information from their desk-top PCs.
Today, Lunds has the RDM solution installed in 15 locations with plans to complete their enterprise conversion.
“I like the ease of getting into the system. It’s mobile, available wherever you are. You can have access to your data anywhere you have a computer and an internet connection.”
Wally Lindeman, Sr. Facilities Maintenance Manager, Lund Food Holdings
“One of the greatest features of the RDM controls and support for the Lunds Hennepin came from the zero product loss associated with refrigeration. This was especially helpful in our new store environment. Thank you for ensuring that our customers received uninterrupted shopping and selection of product.”
Brian Kopp, Director of retail operations, Lund Food Holdings