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. (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.

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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.

2022 Better Buildings Progress Report

To date, the 900+ Better Buildings partners have saved more than 2.5 quadrillion Btus, saving more than $15 billion and 155 million tons of CO2.

Featured Solutions

Sheetz is taking steps to reduce the company’s environmental impact by adding utility efficient technologies to new store design and retrofitting existing stores accordingly.
The Life Time Chanhassen, MN Athletic Club reduced energy use intensity by 35% and water use intensity by nearly 60% by implementing a range of energy and water efficiency improvements from 2011 to 2021.
This collection of resources can support commercial kitchen operators in the shift to lower-carbon options for equipment, operations, and maintenance practices.
The Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) developed a series of renewable energy primers that provide an overview of the various pathways retailers can use to integrate renewable energy into their portfolios.
This collection of resources provides information on the applicability, technical considerations, and benefits of using natural refrigerants in place of traditional hydrofluorocarbon refrigerants.
Slipstream developed the “Maximize Your Facility” video series as a free, quick resource to help building operators learn proactive solutions to common commercial building problems, preventative maintenance strategies, and tips to save energy and improve equipment life.
This collection of resources can help building operators properly maintain HVAC systems to improve performance, save energy, and prolong the life of commercial HVAC equipment.

Other Resources

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 Sheets

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.
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.


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.


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

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
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.
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.
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.


Grid-interactive Efficient Buildings (GEBs) can help building owners and operators reduce carbon emissions and utility costs while improving building resilience. GEBs can optimize interplay among energy efficiency, demand response, behind-the-meter generation, and energy storage to increase the flexibility of demand-side management.
This session covered emerging trends in controls and analytics for small buildings, highlighting the benefits and lessons learned from installing and operating wireless connected thermostats and small building control systems
Get plugged in on EV charging and fleet electrification with this diverse panel representing manufacturers, cities, and adopters who will shared insights from their experiences transitioning their fleets and how it aligns with carbon reduction goals.
This session discussed how Better Buildings partners put their organizational missions into practice by bridging energy projects with equity and environmental justice priorities.
This presentation from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory provided an overview of the capabilities of Energy Management & Information Systems (EMIS), industry trends, and summarized the benefits of using EMIS for monitoring and controlling rooftop HVAC units.


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.


In this 2021 Summit session, partners shared strategies to get even more energy savings from their buildings through the utilization of integrated technology packages, smart energy analytics, and more.
This presentation highlighted the capabilities of AFDD for specific systems including rooftop units and how facility managers use the data to improve operations and make smarter decisions.
This webinar highlighted how partners are addressing energy use in warehouses and distribution centers, providing ideas for you to take back to your buildings.

Additional Information

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 FY2023 will focus on the following priorities:

1) Develop and disseminate solutions that showcase pathways for unique and creative applications for renewable energy within RFSG portfolios.

2) Create and share solutions and tools to support partners to comprehensively manage energy, emissions, and other sustainability data.

3) Identify and address barriers to managing GHG emissions from refrigeration through support in showcasing data tracking and reporting, leak detection, and natural refrigerant use best practices and real-world successes.


Steering Committee Members (FY2023)

  • Amy Kaspar, The Wendy's Company
  • Darrel Carter, T-Mobile
  • Eric McCrum, Sheetz, Inc.
  • Iyunade Oduneye, adidas
  • Jordan Ivans, Kohl's, Inc.
  • Kaela Martins, Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA)
  • Peter Isabell, Life Time, Inc.
  • Rawson Haverty, Jr., Havertys

Meet the Sector Committee Chair