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Havertys: Building Internal Support for Energy Efficiency Projects

Havertys added the following clause to its public mission statement, connecting its commitment to financial performance with environmental stewardship: 

“We will be responsible in our relationship with the environment and encourage all our associates to be environmentally sensitive.”

Securing Buy-in from Senior Leadership

The first step for Havertys in developing a culture of sustainability entailed learning from leaders at the helm of the movement. Haverty invited Ray Anderson from Interface and leaders from Walmart to in-person meetings with Havertys executive team. Success stories and examples of highly efficient model stores from these companies convinced Havertys' leadership that integrating sustainability into business practices could be beneficial to the health of the company. Havertys leadership committed to elevating sustainability to a core value for the company.

Developing the Bright Inspirations (BI) Program

Following this commitment at the leadership level, and with a national recession in full swing by 2008, Havertys began a holistic assessment of its entire store portfolio as a cost savings exercise. Through this exercise, dubbed Bright Inspirations (BI), Havertys looked to optimize five key aspects of each store in its portfolio: energy performance, location, neighborhood, control, and size.

  • Energy Performance – Havertys looked at each store’s energy use, as well as the state of building assets such as lighting, roofs, and HVAC units to prioritize upgrades with the greatest return. The team took the combined benefits of multiple upgrades (e.g., LED lighting reduces heat in the building, therefore reducing the cooling load and allowing for downsized RTU units) into consideration.
  • Location – Havertys’ senior team determined that instead of continuing to grow and expand the brand with more stores, it would be more beneficial to have fewer stores in optimal locations. Locations were deemed optimal based on their financial performance and appropriateness of the store (e.g., size, productivity, and demographics served).
  • Neighborhood – The ability to serve diverse demographics was also a significant factor in Havertys' decision to maintain or shutdown a store, with the main goal being the increase of their reach to new markets and potential customers.
  • Control – Havertys' ability to ensure that energy efficiency measures were adopted at as many stores as possible is largely in part due to their ownership of 1/3 of their assets. Havertys assessed leased stores to determine if moving to an owned location would be beneficial.
  • Size – Havertys assessed the size of each store to determine whether it was a beneficial asset to maintain.

The exercise resulted in the realization that sustainability directly supported the corporate goal to become leaner and more productive. Modifications including cool white roofs, high efficiency LED lighting and lighting controls, temperature controls, and HVAC system upgrades were implemented across the portfolio. Store hours of operation and employee hours of operation outside of business hours were also evaluated and optimized. In some cases, BI assessments led Havertys to close older, less efficient stores, and open new efficient ones as opposed to investing substantial capital in buildings that did not successfully optimize the five key aspects of the program. Most stores were also outfitted with an energy management information system (EMIS) which makes energy use information visible to store managers as well as the corporate sustainability team. An excellent example of the outcomes of the Bright Inspirations program is Havertys Virginia Beach store, where a holistic upgrade including LED lighting, cool white roof, smaller high efficiency HVAC equipment, an energy management system, and aesthetic improvements resulted in 44% annual energy savings and an improved customer experience.

Engaging and Education Staff

The energy efficiency improvements required the participation of store managers, who are involved in planning and implementation of upgrades to their stores. Managers are also tasked with monitoring energy use information provided by the local utility service and from the building’s EMIS. All managers attend mandatory training webinars detailing the various aspects of the EMIS and receive follow-up training sessions with senior leadership available to address questions. Back-end staff are available to troubleshoot issues at any store and a third party firm is on-call to ensure that all equipment is functioning properly. Sustainability is also a focus of Havertys' Annual Leadership Conference, where additional training on store energy management is offered to store managers.

Of particular importance is communicating to store managers how energy efficiency, or inefficiency, financially impacts them. All of the money saved through exceptional building performance goes directly to Havertys' bottom line, and can be reinvested towards additional store upgrades. The store manager achieving the highest reduction in energy consumption is recognized during Havertys’ Annual Leadership Conference.

One tool Havertys developed with Better Buildings support is an internal video promoting the value of energy efficiency to store managers.

Havertys' primary measures of success are the appropriate identification and application of energy efficiency upgrades, proper maintenance of building performance through its EMIS, and continued reduction in energy consumption through its entire portfolio.

To date, Havertys has achieved a significant energy reduction across its portfolio of stores against its 2011 baseline. It has also successfully elevated sustainability as a core company value and engaged store managers to make energy efficiency a component of daily operations.