A sustainable business minimises its adverse effect upon the environment and, although retailers are certainly keen to be seen to have that on the agenda, maximising sales is their primary focus. Many major players have shifted the argument to the supply side, placing the burden of proof of their sustainability credentials onto their manufacturers and growers.
Arguably, whether large or small, the time has come to do more in store. The bulk of retail outlet energy consumption, especially in FMCG, is aimed at creating an atmosphere optimal for inducing sales. In enhancing the store ambience to encourage customers to buy and – equally importantly – to return, lighting and temperature control are two of the principal levers.
Moving those levers in a more sustainable way, using Power Monitoring and Management (PMaM) technology from ACCL, will not only improve retailers’ reputations but also allow them to enjoy the reduced costs that come with such a policy.
Shopping centre managers are becoming more aware and skilled at reducing their electricity costs – and therefore their carbon footprints – both front and back of house. Even the older centres generally have building management systems that allow lighting circuits and plant to be automatically switched on and off.
In contrast, most shop unit managers do not have the systems and tools to actively manage their power consumption. That’s ironic because, although individual units are responsible for only a fraction of shopping centre electricity consumption, collectively they are the major energy user. But without close energy monitoring, how will shop managers judge if their power consumption is within bounds? Or whether their premises are optimally efficient, relative to the parameters affecting the retail offer in a specific location? That’s where PMaM comes to the fore.
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PMaM makes available the latest retrofit technology, which is suitable for small and medium-sized consumers. It enables energy to be monitored and reported on in a very useful, but cost effective and non-invasive way. The only technical requirement is that a fixed or wireless communication network should be nearby.
In broad terms, a PMaM sensor is placed on the incoming electricity supply cables, from which energy consumption information is continuously fed to a network-connected computer with the monitoring software application loaded onto it. The collected data is presented on a user-friendly dashboard.
Benchmarking is the essential first step in effective retailer energy management. Best practice is to audit in-store energy consuming installations to ensure that cost-in-use is as low as possible to achieve the necessary performance levels. Once a benchmark has been established, PMaM usage tracking becomes a meaningful exercise. Reporting generally takes two forms: internal comparative data and external comparative data.
Internal comparative data reporting, where the most recent usage profile is compared against historical data, is generated over a period of time. This is particularly useful for the production of “by exception” alerts i.e. if usage rises above a set number of kilowatts an automated alarm is sent to a designated destination. That may be to an email-enabled computer or as an SMS message to a mobile phone.
External comparative data reporting provides an understanding of whether the usage profile of a retailer is similar, more, or less than expected when compared with same sector retailers both in the centre and in other regional locations. This is measured in watts per square metre to provide a true like-for-like comparison.
Dependent upon whether a Tenant Active System (TAS) installation pre-exists (or not) PMaM product options are described below.
The PMaM installation may be permanent or for a fixed term, although if the period is less than three months the benefits of comparative profiling will not be realised.
All reporting is customised to the user’s needs at no additional cost. Beyond that, service levels offered to retailers are variable and depend upon budget.
TAS is the leading in-mall communication system, providing structured multi-channel communication between the retailer, the public, centre management, and other interested parties. If TAS is already deployed in a centre, installation and cost-in-use savings may be made on the PMaM service. Additionally, at no additional cost, enhanced reports will be produced that, for example, compare dynamic turnover profiles against energy costs.
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ACCL experts in power monitoring systems