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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. (CBECS 2012). Better Buildings sector partners represent 2 billion square feet of that floorspace and have saved nearly $3 billion since 2011. 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.

Learn how to implement a successful decarbonization strategy

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2023 Better Buildings Progress Report

To date, 900+ Better Buildings, Better Plants partners have saved more than 3.1 quadrillion Btu, saving more than $18.5 billion and 189 million metric tons of CO2.

Join Us

Ready to join the Better Climate Challenge? Follow the link below to download and complete program and ally partnership agreements.

Join the Water Savings Network

Partners across the commercial, public, industrial, and multifamily sectors are working with the U.S. Department of Energy to share successful water efficiency solutions and progress, network with peers, receive technical assistance, and more.

Other Resources

Case Study

Green Lease Leaders: Retailers Leverage Tenant-Landlord Communication During Pandemic Case Study

This case study from the 2021 Green Lease Leaders program explores the ways that retail leveraged green leasing strategies to help navigate unprecedented challenges, strengthen landlord-tenant relationships, and prioritize efficiency and sustainability priorities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fact Sheet

Community Solar for the Retail Sector Fact Sheet

Using case studies from commercial partners Starbucks and Kohl's - as well as former Better Buildings Alliance member Walmart - this document offers guidance into sourcing energy through community solar. 

Retail Operations to Reduce Risks of Airborne Infectious Disease Transmission Fact Sheet

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory compiled recommendations and guidance for retail store operators trying to minimize disease risk to staff and customers. This fact sheet reviews HVAC system operations, exhaust systems, elevator controls, and building automation systems, as well as space uses and occupancies.

Grocery Operations to Reduce Risks of Airborne Infectious Disease Transmission Fact Sheet

Oak Ridge National Lab developed this fact sheet for grocery store operators to help them minimize the risks of airborne disease transmission. It covers various systems within a grocery store including HVAC and refrigeration and suggests best practices and behaviors.


Grocery Operations to Reduce Risks of Airborne Infectious Disease Transmission General

This collection of no-cost data management and modeling tools can support Better Buildings partners in the commercial sector to manage organizational energy, emissions, and other sustainability data.

Big-Box Retail Lighting Upgrade in Parking Lots

When it comes to achieving significant sustainability gains, an international retail giant has unique opportunities to cut energy use. With a total of 4,500 sites, Walmart’s commitment to efficiency in parking lighting in new construction and retrofits is paying off in major savings. As a result of its lighting upgrades Walmart received individual Lighting Energy Efficiency in Parking (LEEP) Campaign awards for a superstore, a neighborhood market and a Sam’s Club. Across 100 stores including both new and retrofitted sites, over 40 million square feet in surfaces for parking and over 100,000 parking spaces, Walmart is saving over 15 million kWh each year as a result of lighting upgrades.


HVACR Maintenance and Contracting Resources Guidance

This resources list can help partners in the commercial sector with their efforts to procure contractual services from qualified technicians to perform preventative maintenance, tuning, and repairs of HVACR equipment.

Submetering Resources - Commercial Buildings Guidance

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

Evaluating New Energy Efficiency Products Guidance

This resource provides a list of steps for building owners/managers to consider when evaluating the suitability of new energy-reducing technologies or products for their commercial buildings.

Low Carbon Technology Strategies for Stand-Alone Retail and Strip Malls Guidance

This document includes steps that building owners and operators can implement to achieve smart, healthy, and low-carbon retail buildings within their existing building portfolios. Stand-alone retail and strip malls often use packaged rooftop units for heating, cooling, and ventilation.

Low Carbon Technology Strategies for Supermarkets Guidance

This document includes steps that building owners and operators can implement to achieve smart, healthy, and low-carbon supermarkets within their existing building portfolios. Supermarkets include built-up refrigeration systems and refrigerated display cases and often use packaged rooftop units for heating, cooling, and ventilation.

Assessing and Reducing Plug and Process Loads in Retail Buildings Guidance

This guide describes the process needed to cost-effectively reduce PPL energy impact in retail buildings. It includes general and appliance-specific PPL control strategies.

Healthy Buildings Guide for Small Businesses: A Quick Reference to Improve Indoor Air Quality Guidance

This guidance document from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) can help small businesses to improve indoor air quality and reduce occupant risk. Click here for the Spanish version.

Online Library/Resource

Adaptive Commercial Refrigeration Equipment Online Library/Resource

This resource includes a list of adaptive commercial refrigeration products receiving the ENERGY STAR® Technology Award for meeting rigorous performance criteria to reduce energy use and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

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

Environmental Defense Fund - Supply Chain Solutions Center Online Library/Resource

The Environmental Defense Fund hosts a digital platform called the Supply Chain Solutions Center to help companies incorporate more sustainability goals and policies into every aspect of their supply chain.

Alternative Refrigerants for Commercial Applications Summary Online Library/Resource

This resource from the North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council provides a high-level summary of current and future refrigerant options for U.S. commercial refrigeration applications, including stationary refrigeration remote systems, remote condensing units, and self-contained refrigerated cases.


Cost-Effective Grid-interactive Efficient Buildings: Decarbonization Potential for a US Retail Portfolio Report

This report from the Rocky Mountain Institute summarizes an assessment of a large U.S. retail portfolio, recommending bundles of measures for optimized portfolio-wide investments and providing investment pathways to support decarbonization.

  • 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.

    Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) - Retail Sustainability
    Resources focusing on environmental sustainability issues primarily related to retail facilities and operations.

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

    Food Service Technology Center (FSTC)
    The Food Service Technology Center provides energy efficiency technical advice and training to the commercial food service industry.

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


Sector Priorities

The Better Buildings Alliance's Retail, Food Service & Grocery Steering Committee helps to set priorities for the sector each year. Sector activities for FY2024 will focus on the following priorities:

1) Identify and address barriers to resilience planning through the creation and dissemination of solutions that support climate risk assessment and promote resilience analysis. 

2) Identify and address barriers to managing refrigeration-based GHG emissions. 

3) Create and share solutions and guidance demonstrating actionable pathways to decarbonize through operational and behavioral changes, technology deployment, and demonstration. 


Steering Committee Members (FY2024)

  • Evan Talan, adidas 
  • Charissa Rujanavech, Albertsons Companies
  • Katie Mendolera, Havertys
  • Pooya Soltanian Sedeh, IKEA
  • Elizabeth VanTreeck, Kohl’s, Inc.
  • Bill Moritz, Life Time
  • Erin Hiatt, RILA
  • Devin Messerschmidt, Sheetz, Inc.
  • Jenny Haan, Starbucks
  • Amy Bond, T-Mobile 
  • Amy Kaspar The Wendy’s Company