Grocery Stores

As a store owner or manager, you handle inventory, make sure the food deliveries are on time and keep the shelves well-stocked.

You manage a labor force and assign shifts. In short, you manage a complex operation. Hawaii Energy wants to help you manage electricity use as well.

The first step you should take is to develop an energy management program. An energy management program studies electricity usage, how and where electricity is used and evaluates ways to save in order to reduce and implement electricity conservation measures to increase a building’s operating efficiency. It can also involve training employees on electricity-saving steps they can take.

Typical Electricity Use for Grocery Stores

Disclaimer: Figures are based on Hawaiian Electric Company data and an average electric consumption of 53 kilowatt hour/square-foot-year. Electricity use is affected by weather; number of occupants; building size and thermal integrity; cooling, heating, and water systems; and miscellaneous equipment.

An energy management program can include:

Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning (HVAC)

Shoppers generally prefer temperatures between 65°F and 75°F. Heating, cooling and humidity control for grocery stores is designed to provide a comfortable environment for shoppers and to enable refrigeration cases to operate efficiently. Here are some ways to save energy on HVAC systems:

  • Installing energy-efficient air conditioning/chiller equipment.
  • Installing HVAC fans and pumps with variable frequency drives that can control motor and pump speeds, as well as the electricity needed to run the fans and pumps.
  • Putting window film on to reduce heat loss.
  • Adding insulation for windows and doors, such as weather stripping and thresholds.
  • Installing a timer on supply air fans.
  • Utilizing energy management systems.
  • Decreasing the daytime thermostat setting.
  • Installing a night setback procedure.
  • Installing an economizer.


Lighting, usually designed to highlight the merchandise, can make up 20 percent of your electricity bill. Fluorescent tubes, generally used in most stores, are a relatively efficient lighting source. We have a number of rebates and measures that can help store lighting become even more energy-efficient which include:

  • Replacing older, less efficient T12s with low-wattage T8 and T5 lamps with electronic ballasts.
  • Installing reflectors which enables delamping by reducing the number of lamps needed.
  • Replacing your incandescent bulbs with CFLs which use 75 percent less energy and last 10 times longer than traditional bulbs.
  • Replacing fluorescent light exit signs with LED exit signs.
  • Installing induction lighting which offers long-lasting, low-maintenance solutions to hard-to-reach places and public facilities.
  • Installing pulse-start metal halide and high-pressure sodium lamps. These lamps provide high-intensity lighting, long lamp light and high energy efficiency for spaces where lights are used for many hours and have high ceilings.
  • Adding occupancy sensors, or automatic lighting controls, this switches off the lights when people leave the room and turn them back on when people return. Programmable timers can also turn lights on and off at appropriate hours.
  • Installing light tubes and other natural light maximizers that can replace some electric lighting.


The refrigeration system typically uses 45 percent or more of your total electricity use to run compressors, fan motors, condensers and evaporators, and heating to defrost case coils.

Energy conservation measures for refrigeration equipment might include:

  • Reducing refrigeration case temperatures to meet but not exceed code requirements.
  • Turning off medium-temperature case lights at night.
  • Cycling anti-sweat heaters on low-temperature glass doors.
  • Installing glass doors over open display refrigeration cases.
  • Installing plastic-strip curtains on walk-in coolers and freezers.

Water Heating

Hot water in grocery stores is used for cleaning counters in meat-cutting areas, bakeries, and general store cleanup. Water heaters which supply meat cutting areas are generally set to 155°F in order to meet sanitation requirements. Energy conservation measures implemented to the water heating system might include insulating the pipe and water heater tank or installing a compressor heat recovery system to preheat the water supply.

Miscellaneous Equipment

A small part of the electricity used by a grocery store is related to miscellaneous equipment, such as cash registers and cleaning systems. This equipment should be operated only when necessary and maintained to ensure proper operation.

For more information, call (808) 839-8880 or email .