The next time you head to the grocery store, stop for a moment in the meat or freezer section and think about this: how much energy is needed to keep perishable foods in the coolers from spoiling? Now, think about all the coolers or cooling systems in the world. Not only is the amount of energy used astronomical, so is the energy waste and pollutants from the escaping refrigerant gases. In Wisconsin, Roundy’s Supermarkets, Inc., (Roundy’s) is working to make the answer to your question, “Close to net zero.”
Roundy’s (a subsidiary of Kroger) celebrates 150 years in 2022 operating 105 groceries in Wisconsin; Pick 'n Save, Copps, and Metro Market. The Milwaukee-based grocer created an Energy Management Program and is committed to energy efficiency and reducing energy waste. Over the past decade, cross-functional teams of facility engineers, technicians, and maintenance workers within the program have:
“Corporate sustainability is really a pay it forward,” Roundy’s Wisconsin Division President Michael Marx said. “The team here is squarely focused on those efforts. There is not a day that goes by that we are walking through a remodel where Jamie isn’t pointing out different opportunities to save energy. We have a fantastic team here that drives this.”
Jamie Diercks, Senior Manager Facility Engineering, accepted the 2022 Focus on Energy Efficiency Excellence Award, thanking his team and management for making sure energy efficiency remained top of mind as more new stores open.
“Roundy’s and Kroger were instrumental in developing the compressors that power our refrigeration equipment which generate a lot of heat, like your car,” Diercks said. “We usually reclaim all that heat and put it back into our water heaters or air flow and that reduces our gas and electric expenses sometimes by 50%, 75%.”
Working with Focus on Energy since 2013, Roundy’s committed to building ANY new stores with energy efficiency built into the design right from the start. Current properties are undergoing retrofitting. We Energies works with both Roundy’s and Focus on Energy, offering financial incentives of its own and energy advisors supporting any new project.
Roundy's opened one of the nation's greenest groceries in 2014 in Menomonee Falls. That Pick 'n Save is one of only a handful of stores in the United States utilizing CO2 as a refrigerant; an all-natural alternative to hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants. HFC refrigerants have a global-warming potential around 4000. Using CO2 refrigerants drops that potential to 1.
“I go out and talk to CEOs all the time and they tell me, ‘The number one factor when we are looking at expansion or relocation, we are looking at is energy costs,’” Public Service Commission of Wisconsin Chairperson Rebecca Valcq said. “It all comes down to Wisconsin-based companies who lead the way. It is an honor to give you all (Roundy’s) the Energy Efficiency Excellence Award for all your hard work.”
Roundy's has committed $10,700,000 towards energy-reduction initiatives since 2020. Some of the many retrofits for existing Roundy's include numerous LED conversions for both space and case lighting, demand control ventilation, compressor heat recovery, VFD motor controls, HVAC management system, mechanical sub-cooling, and refrigeration controls.
*numbers based on energy savings of more than 232,000 therms and 30,500,000 kWh since 2013.