Retail, Food Service & Grocery

Retail, Food Service & Grocery

The Retail, Food Service and Grocery sectors spend over $41 billion on energy costs a year, and represent 14 billion square feet of floorspace in the U.S. Collectively, Better Buildings Alliance sector members account for almost 3 billion square feet of building space, or 19% of retail floor space nationwide. Through their engagement with the program, these organizations share tips and strategies for overcoming energy efficiency barriers and meeting their organization’s energy use reduction goals.

Connect With The Interior Lighting Campaign: Save On Lighting Energy Costs
Gain Access to EMIS Experts: Join the Smart Energy Analytics Campaign
Read about the role of energy efficiency in strengthening resilience: Energy-Resilience Nexus Fact Sheet
Support for obtaining and building a skilled HVACR workforce: HVACR Workforce Resources
Interested in setting and tracking a waste reduction goal?: Check out the Better Buildings Waste Reduction Pilot
Join the Better Buildings Alliance

Team up with DOE’s exceptional network of staff and technical experts to determine energy savings goals, develop innovative cost effective energy solutions, and deploy efficient technologies and market practices.

2019 Better Buildings Progress Report

To date, Better Buildings partners have saved nearly 1.4 quadrillion Btus, achieving more than $8 billion in energy and cost savings.

2019 Summit Presentations are Live

Slide decks from the 2019 Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit sessions are now available to download and share. 

Featured Solutions

BBA Affiliate RILA is offering free training modules focused on Financial Literacy for Retail. There are 2 courses: Finance 101 and Finance 201. Developed with support from Better Buildings and DOE, these e-learnings will help those in the retail sector who want to know more about financing and value as they relate to sustainability.
Home Depot has taken advantage of the most appropriate market options to implement a variety of onsite and offsite renewable energy projects to help achieve its targets: 135 MW of energy through renewable and alternative sources by 2020.
This sector-wide check-in call focused on advanced refrigeration, one of the key priorities for the Better Builldings Alliance's Retail, Food Service and Grocery sector. This call was jam-packed with refrigeration updates that can be helpful across multiple sectors.
Energy efficiency improvements implemented at the Restaurant Support Center - the headquarters for The Wendy's Company - have led to an energy savings of 28 percent from the baseline year of 2013.
Ulta Beauty is breaking down the split incentive barrier by implementing industry leading roof-top unit (RTU) guidelines that are beneficial to themselves as tenant and to their landlords.
H&M determined that closing exterior doors resulted in approximately $10,000 in energy cost savings a year on average per store with no discernible impact on foot traffic, leading to the establishment of a company closed-door policy.
Wendy's Smart Family of Designs Solutions at a Glance
The Wendy's Company developed the Smart Family of Designs portfolio to provide development options to franchisees, including buildings that fit into smaller footprints and have features that promote energy efficiency.
Havertys' Eastern Distribution Center in Braselton, Georgia is an 810,000-square-foot facility that has achieved an energy savings of 29% as of 2018.

Other Resources


This guide introduces incentive and financing programs available to support the installation and use of EMIS in commercial buildings.
As Better Buildings partners continue to pursue energy efficiency improvements at their facilities, many face challenges with managing the vast amount of data provided by their energy management information systems. The resources included on this list can assist partners in analyzing data and using it to support further advances in energy efficiency in their buildings.
This resources list can support Better Buildings partners as they face challenges with obtaining a skilled workforce to service their HVAC and refrigeration equipment.
This resources list can help partners in the retail, food service, and grocery sector with their efforts to procure contractual services from qualified technicians to perform preventative maintenance, tuning, and repairs of HVACR equipment.

Implementation Models

Best Buy established a rolling portfolio-wide lighting retrofit program using maintenance funds instead of capital budget.
Sprint’s multifaceted energy efficiency strategy includes applying a unique energy savings approach to each asset class and tying compensation to energy reduction, which has resulted in more than $60 million in avoided energy costs.
Energy Finance Strategy Implementation Model
Kohl’s embedded members of the Finance Department into the Energy team to expedite communication of financial benefits and approval of energy efficiency projects.

Online Library/Resource

Green Lease Library Online Library/Resource
The Green Lease Library is a centralized site for commercial green leasing resources. The Green Lease Leaders recognition program was created with support from the U.S. Department of Energy and other Green Lease Library and contributing organizations. For more information on the program, visit


This report documents a large-scale assessment of energy information system (EIS) uses, costs, and energy benefits, based on a series of focused case study investigations that are synthesized into generalizable findings.
This report provides guidance on Demand Control Kitchen Ventilation (DCKV) systems in commercial food service facilities.
This document introduces the key elements to consider in making the business case for a proactive high-efficiency RTU replacement strategy for facility maintenance staff and building engineers responsible for energy management.

Additional Information

Resources for Retail:

Top Energy Resources & Tools for Retail

A collection of resources and tools aimed at addressing energy challenges for retail buildings.

Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) Sustainability Initiative
Resources for retail organizations identified by RILA’s Energy & Greenhouse Gas Emissions Committee.

Resources for Food Service:

ENERGY STAR Commercial Kitchen Package
ENERGY STAR qualified products, guidebooks, and factsheets that help restaurant owners improve the performance of their facilities and equipment while reducing energy costs.

ENERGY STAR for Restaurants
EPA’s ENERGY STAR program website for restaurants, which provides building energy management and measurement resources and tools.

PG&E Food Service Technology Center (FSTC)
A leader in commercial kitchen energy efficiency and appliance performance testing, the FSTC provides expertise in commercial kitchen ventilation, water heating and building energy efficiency, including lighting, glazing and HVAC.

Consortium for Energy Efficiency's (CEE) Commercial Kitchens Initiative
Search thousands of evaluation studies, market characterizations, and relevant efficiency documents.

National Restaurant Association’s Conserve Sustainability Education Program
Designed by the restaurant industry for the restaurant industry, an introduction to sustainability and a road map to help operators with easily digestible information.

Resources for commercial buildings:

Advanced Energy Design Guides
Created by ASHRAE and its partners, the Advanced Energy Design Guides for 50% Savings offer designers and contractors the tools needed for achieving a 50% energy savings compared to buildings that meet the minimum requirements of Standard 90.1-2004. View guides for big box retail, small box retail, and grocery buildings.

Advanced Energy Retrofit Guides
The Advanced Energy Retrofit Guides (AERGs) were created to help decision makers plan, design, and implement energy improvement projects in their facilities. Guides are available for office buildings, retail buildings, and grocery buildings.

Commercial Buildings Resource Database
The database provides resources developed by the Building Technologies Office and its partners. Building owners and operators can use this centralized collection of materials produced from DOE's commercial buildings research to design, build, and upgrade their facilities.

ENERGY STAR for Commercial Buildings
Targeted ENERGY STAR materials and resources for commercial buildings stakeholders, including retail and grocery building owners and managers.

ENERGY STAR Management Guidelines
Tools, resources, and strategic energy management guidance for measuring and reducing energy consumption.

ISO 50001 Energy Management Standard
A proven approach for U.S. industrial and commercial facilities to continually improve energy performance. This powerful new standard from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) provides an internationally recognized framework for organizations to voluntarily implement an energy management system.


The Better Buildings Alliance Retail, Food Service and Grocery Steering Committee helps to set priorities for Alliance work in the sector each year. Sector activities for FY2019 focus on the following priorities:

1) Workforce Training & Development
2) Resilience & Disaster Preparedness Planning
3) EMIS Data Analytics

Steering Committee Members (2018-2020)

  • Bob Valair, Staples
  • Bruce Condit, Connex
  • Erin Hiatt, RILA
  • Graziella Siciliano, Environmental Defense Fund
  • Jim McClendon (chair), Walmart
  • Kirk Beaudoin, adidas
  • Mike Ellinger, Whole Foods
  • Peter Isabell, Life Time Fitness
  • Rawson Haverty, Jr., Havertys
  • Sheila Ongie, National Co-op Grocers

Meet the Sector Committee Chair