Retail is the second highest energy consuming industry in the UK. Electricity represents 77 percent of total energy consumption in the retail industry and 90 percent of overall energy costs. Costs associated with energy consumption in retail operations are expected to increase to £4.4 billion by 2020.i Greenhouse gas emissions represented approximately a fifth of emissions from all retailers in the UK in 2013. Lastly, retail stores generate high volumes of material waste, mainly from product packaging and can include materials such as cardboard, shrink-wrap, mixed paper, plastic, and scrap metal.ii Retailers can improve their environmental performance through increased energy efficiency and enhanced recycling programs.
Pets at Home is a leading UK-based specialty retailer of pet foods and accessories and a provider of pet-related services including grooming and veterinary services. The company has been measuring and reporting its energy and waste management performance for a number of years.
Response — Greenhouse Gas Emissions (Facilities)
In 2016, among other efforts, Pets at Home continued focusing on the energy efficiency of its stores, while also maintaining pet welfare and employee comfort. To improve energy efficiency at its stores, Pets at Home implemented a number of projects as part of its “Project Aether.” The company:
- Evaluated and began managing temperature set points within stores to determine an optimum standard operating procedure that reduces energy use while maintaining pet welfare.
- Converted store lighting to energy-efficient LED equivalents across more than 250 stores.
- Began evaluating the energy impacts of grooming activities to develop best practices to manage consumption and costs.
- Began testing more efficient lighting options in the company’s Vets4Pets facilities.
Results — Greenhouse Gas Emissions (Facilities)iii
Due to Pets at Home’s Project Aether, the company saved more than an estimated $678,000, or £500,000, in energy consumption and maintenance costs in the first year, which exceeded budgeted expectations. At the conclusion of phase two in 2017, the company is anticipating total annual savings at both stores and distribution centers of approximately $2.7 million, or more than £2 million. At completion, the savings will equate to more than 23 million kWh and a reduction of more than 9,760 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.iv