Green Savings and Saving Some Green
I think it is safe to say that 2020 is one for the record books. We all know the lingo – pause, pivot, social distance, sanitize. We have learned more about what goes into manufacturing and distributing a new vaccine than most of us have ever needed to and companies like Pfizer and Moderna have become part of our normal and everyday conversations. Much has changed over the past year, but what has not changed is the continuous efforts put forth by Northfield’s businesses to become more energy efficient.
Just Food Co-op has just completed a full remodel of their 11,000 sq foot space in downtown Northfield. Environmental stewardship is always top of mind and it certainly shows. In 2020, they began promoting the use of reusable bags and saved 71,000 bags from use by not giving out plastic bags with purchases. They also continue to recycle and compost as much as 91% of all their waste – which is extraordinary for a grocery store.
With their expansion they have been able to replace all their lighting with new LED, mercury free lights that use 80% less energy. They have created new HVAC “zones” to better heat and cool the store according to their floorplan, time of day and refrigeration units located in the zone. New double paned glass windows reduce those heating costs by an additional 25%.
Loon Liquors has always been energy conscious since day one of operations. According to Mark Schiller, Co-owner of Loon Liquors, changing all lighting to LED bulbs can create nearly immediate savings. He estimates that they been able to save over $1000/year for the last seven years – and they have not had to change a bulb in all that time.
Loon Liquors utilizes mostly locally source grains for all their spirits. They buy direct from B & T Farms located in Faribault, who in turn, take the spent grains for use on their farm to feed hogs and compost for fertilizer. It comes full circle.
Post Consumer Brands has also converted most of the Northfield plant to LED lights. The approximately 1600 lights are Bluetooth capable and have adjustable light intensity settings. Since implementation, they have seen an approximate 9% reduction in electrical KWH usage.
They are implementing projects to increase boiler efficiency, which will result in a reduction of natural gas and water usage. Future projects include reducing compressed air usage which will result in yet a further reduction of electrical KWH usage.
There are many other savings that business owners can take advantage of that are easy and inexpensive to implement. Changing HVAC filters and cleaning coils on heating and cooling systems can lead to big savings. Just looking at your security camera at night and see what is left on. Shutting off monitors, televisions, appliances, and other electronics that do not need to be running when no one is around can turn into big savings.
Xcel Energy has great resources for business owners interested in reducing energy costs.