May 11, 2023

The most common opportunities for retail stores to save energy are through lighting and HVAC improvements. Below are some of the most common energy efficiency recommendations to consider.

LED Lighting

From safety to aesthetics, a well-lit storefront is important for retailers. LEDs are available at a cost-effective price for almost every type of fixture and lamp, making them an easy first step to save on electric costs. With their long lifespan compared to older technologies, you also get bonus savings on maintenance costs for replacements.

Overhead Lighting

Upgrading linear fluorescent tubes to LED tube or panel lights can reduce electric use by 40 to 50 percent without sacrificing the lighting quality in your store. Lighting upgrades can be as simple as replacing the lamp if you are satisfied with the current lighting levels, or you can opt to replace the fixtures if they have some wear and tear.

Lighting Controls

Occupancy sensors can be installed in low-use areas, such as storage rooms, break rooms, and bathrooms. Occupancy sensors can turn on lights when motion is detected and turn them off after a period of inactivity, preventing you from unnecessarily paying to keep the lights on all day.

Wall Packs

LED wall packs are easy to install, look just like traditional models, and use 40 to 50 percent less energy than metal halide versions.

Parking Lot Lights

If you own or are responsible for maintaining your parking lot, you can also consider LED parking lot lights. There are many pole-mounted alternatives available, and due to the directional nature of LEDs, you can improve both light distribution and reduce electric costs. 

If your light poles are in good condition, this upgrade could be as simple as replacing the fixture on an existing pole.

Product Quality

The quality of lighting products can make or break your lighting upgrade. The easiest way to know if you are getting a good product is to see if the product is listed by the DLC or if it is ENERGY STAR certified. You can check for these logos on the product’s packaging or contact Efficiency Smart for help verifying.

More useful lighting tips


In general, it’s rarely cost-effective to replace functioning HVAC equipment for energy savings alone. However, if you are making frequent repairs and your system is getting older, it’s a good idea to start planning for a replacement as your unit reaches the end of its useful life.

Researching units allows you to compare the price difference and the potential savings between standard and energy-efficient models, which can help you in your decision-making process. In addition, being prepared allows you to schedule your replacement on your terms, versus having to order whatever is currently in stock to make an emergency replacement.

Rooftop Unit Controller

If you have a standard-efficiency rooftop unit (RTU) that is three to five years old, consider installing a rooftop unit controller. Many new RTUs have these advanced controls already built into them, but older units can be retrofitted to have comparable functionality that can improve the part load performance of your system.

Rooftop unit controllers may only be compatible with some systems, so it’s best to start with your HVAC contractor to check if this is right for you.


One of the most effective ways to save on heating and cooling costs is by scheduling your HVAC system around your operating hours. This means adjusting the temperature while the store is closed and scheduling it to condition the space ahead of when staff and guests occupy the building.

Rooftop units typically come with a programmable thermostat. If you have a smaller retail space with a residential-sized unit, you can consider purchasing a smart thermostat to program your unit around operating hours.

More commercial HVAC system tips.

Contact Us

Efficiency Smart’s engineering consultants are available to help recommend improvements, calculate savings, prioritize projects, review proposals from vendors, or answer your energy-efficiency questions.  Financial incentives are also available for qualifying projects.

For more information, contact your local account manager or our customer service team at (877) 889-3777 or [email protected].