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.

Save on Lighting Energy Costs: Connect with the Interior Lighting 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
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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.

The 2020 Summit is Going Virtual

The Better Buildings, Better Plants Summit is transitioning to a virtual leadership symposium, taking place June 8-11, 2020. Experience 4 days of sessions, workshops, recognition, and more with industry experts and peers.

COVID-19 Resource Center

Dealing with COVID-19 presents an unprecedented scenario for building owners, plant managers, and employees. Better Buildings has collected resources from partners, affiliates, and other organizations that may prove useful.

Featured Solutions

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.
Energy efficiency improvements implemented at the Restaurant Support Center - the headquarters for The Wendy's Company - have led to an energy savings of 32 percent from the baseline year of 2013 through 2018.
Tenants and landlords often have competing incentives for efficiency practices, but Ulta Beauty has broken through this barrier with its industry-leading rooftop unit guidelines that benefit both tenant and landlord.
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 tool provides a portfolio of development options to franchisees, including buildings that fit into smaller footprints, resulting in more access to real estate, the ability to customize needs for specific trade areas, and reduce the development investment for franchisees looking to build new restaurants.
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.
Hannaford joined Efficiency Vermont's Deep Energy Retrofit pilot program in 2015 - committing to a 50% energy reduction goal at its Brandon, Vermont store - and achieved a 56% reduction in energy use by the end of 2017.

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.
This document contains a variety of resources intended to help commercial partners gain better access to energy data through the use of submetering.

Implementation Models

With limited capital funds for energy efficiency, Best Buy established a rolling portfolio-wide lighting retrofit program using maintenance funds, resulting in reduced energy, labor, and lighting replacement costs due to the increased efficiency and life of LEDs.
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.
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.

Top Energy Resources & Tools for Food Service and Grocery
A collection of resources and tools aimed at addressing energy challenges for food service and grocery 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 & Grocery Steering Committee helps to set priorities for Alliance work in the sector each year. Sector activities for FY2020 will focus on the following priorities:

1) Access to more granular energy data to make targeted performance investments & improvements
2) Conveying the value of energy efficiency & gaining internal support
3) Supply chain sustainability


Steering Committee Members (2019-2020)

  • Bob Valair, Staples
  • Bruce Condit, Connex
  • Erin Hiatt, RILA
  • Katie Breene, Starbucks
  • Kirk Beaudoin, adidas
  • Mike Ellinger, Whole Foods
  • Peter Isabell, Life Time Fitness
  • Rawson Haverty, Jr., Havertys
  • Richard Outhwaite, Lush Cosmetics (Chair)
  • Sheila Ongie, National Co-op Grocers

Meet the Sector Committee Chair