The retail industry is rapidly evolving with sustainability becoming a core consideration. Leading companies are now evaluating the environmental impacts of their stores, distribution centers, and supply chain operations, implementing sustainability programs to reduce energy, greenhouse gases, waste and chemicals.
“This report is a first look at the broader industry’s accomplishments, challenges, and future directions. It lays a foundation to determine where we can go from here,” said Adam Siegel, RILA vice president of sustainability and retail operations.
Reducing energy use through HVAC&R improvements
Reducing energy use is an important way for retail stores and distribution centres to reduce costs and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The RILA retail report highlights several techniques for decreasing energy use:
- Installation of Building automation systems: Systems to track energy use, control temperature settings, and monitor alarms can help identify areas for energy savings;
- Retrofit of old heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems: In addition to replacing HVAC systems with newer, more efficient models, preventative maintenance and component upgrades, as well as centralised monitoring can increase system efficiency;
- Installation of advanced refrigeration systems: For retail formats like grocery and convenience stores, the installation of equipment with self-closing doors and refrigerants with a lower climate impact is recommended.
The report also recommends considering sustainability criteria in the design and construction phase, and installing efficient HVAC systems and state-of-the-art coolers and refrigerators from the outset.
RILA Energy & Greenhouse Gas Committee and Retail Sustainability Conference
RILA’s Energy & Greenhouse Gas Committee explores best practices for increasing energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas impact. In 2011 the Committee organised several webinar’s highlighting cutting-edge practices to reduce energy consumption.
RILA also organises the Retail Sustainability Conference, which in 2012 will be held in Phoenix, Arizona on 19-21 September, and will feature major retailers and industry leaders. Highlights from the 2011 conference included a behind-the-scenes look at Universal Studio's sustainability program and a look at the Whole Foods supply chain and their innovative food production practices.
The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities, and distribution centres in the US and abroad.