EERE Success Story—Reducing Energy Costs in Kansas Food Markets and Grocery Stores

May 13, 2019

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The Kansas State Energy Office, with an investment from the U.S. Department of Energy's State Energy Program, is helping to mitigate operating cost burdens for rural food markets and grocery stores by providing energy audits to help store owners better understand how they can reduce energy costs.

Rural communities sometimes lack options when it comes to the services they need from local businesses. In Kansas, if a local grocery store in a rural community closes, customers may have to travel 50 miles until they reach the next grocery store. Because of this unique challenge, it is important for local businesses to reduce costs wherever possible in order to stay profitable.

In partnership with the Kansas State Energy Office, the Kansas State University Engineering Extension performed the energy audits and helped identify potential energy efficiency measures in several stores across the state. The stores that received audits outlined the findings in applications for financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Energy Assistance Program to implement the energy efficiency measures.

One grocery store owner, John Simpson, in Troy, Kansas benefitted greatly from energy audits which identified measures such as replacing open-faced coolers with closed-door coolers, and installing freezer units and efficient lighting opportunities. The energy efficiency measures were installed and improvements are expected to save John about 86,000 kWh of energy and more than $10,000 in energy costs per year.

Reducing energy costs helps these stores to remain profitable and in business which prevents local residents from having to travel great distances to simply buy their groceries.

The Energy Department's State Energy Program  provides funding and technical assistance to states, territories, and the District of Columbia to enhance energy security, advance state-led energy initiatives, and maximize the benefits of decreasing energy waste. The State Energy Program emphasizes the state’s role as the decision-maker and administrator for program activities tailored to their unique resources, delivery capacity, and energy goals.