To­wards A Greener Re­tail Store

VM&RD - - COLUMN -

Now with the roar­ing suc­cess of E-re­tail, there is sim­ply no more lee-way with the re­tail stores to cut cor­ners and yet main­tain their com­pet­i­tive edge.

BSan­deep Goswami COO, Foun­tain Head II

ut by de­sign­ing sen­si­bly or de­mand­ing a sen­si­ble and en­ergy ef­fi­cient de­sign of the rental space, they can turn the tide to their favour. There are many ways to achieve th­ese, both for new as well as retro-fits. It can be achieved by hav­ing a bet­ter light­ing ap­proach. If one could work with day-light and max­i­mize its us­age dur­ing the morn­ing business hours then the fol­low­ing dif­fer­ence would be felt. We all know that light pro­duces heat and it is this heat which the air con­di­tion­ers first need to cool be­fore the space gets con­di­tioned to the de­sired coolth. That means the air-con­di­tion­ers need to work more to get the same amount of cool­ing which trans­lates to higher en­ergy bills. Add to that the op­er­a­tion and main­te­nance cost of the lights and the com­pres­sor/fil­ters of the air con­di­tioner which is run­ning ex­tra. There are ways and means to pro­vide sun­light to ev­ery square foot of base­ment, 3 sto­ries be­low. So pro­vid­ing the light­ing into the stores and even blend­ing with the de­sired in­te­ri­ors is not so se­ri­ous a chal­lenge for those who know how. The woe gets mul­ti­plied in towns and ci­ties where a diesel gen­er­a­tor feeds the re­quired elec­tric­ity. The av­er­age unit bill shoots to 16/ unit when we gen­er­ate elec­tric­ity from cap­tive gen­er­a­tors run­ning on diesel. We can to­day not only in­fuse sun­light to take care of the light­ing needs but also almost elim­i­nate the use of diesel in gen­er­a­tors by us­ing al­ter­na­tive tech­nol­ogy to fuel it. In-fact the fuel can be pro­duced on the spot out of thin air, the tech­nol­ogy is in progress while fuel cells are al­ready be­com­ing a prac­tice. The Earth and Sun are the fi­nal source of en­ergy. And its abun­dance is in­fi­nite. One can in a green-field or ex­ist­ing re­tail prop­erty use Geo-ther­mal tech­nol­ogy to power their air-con­di­tion­ers and top it with So­lar PV to com­pletely dis­con­nect form the grid, in cer­tain cases. Very few un­der­stand that one of the prime ex­penses in a re­tail food chain is the gas they use to pre­pare their food. This too can be com­pletely elim­i­nated or limited to neg­li­gi­ble cost if one fol­lows true EEM’s. When we men­tion food, we must also men­tion the highly de­pleted re­source, wa­ter. Some­thing any re­tail would re­quire, to use in clean­ing of the show-win­dow or pre­par­ing food to sim­ple drink­ing. Ap­pli­ca­tion of rain-wa­ter har­vest­ing can help. But by us­ing ex­pert hy­drol­o­gist as a con­sul­tant, in­stead of hir­ing a bore-well drilling company. As they can ad­vise on how to elim­i­nate the cost of drilling deep when wa­ter can be had at half the depth. The wa­ter source can be­come near peren­nial with one good sea­sonal rain, if proper rain wa­ter har­vest­ing tech­nique is ap­plied. This com­bined with sen­si­ble stor­age and use of So­lar Pumps can save huge op­er­a­tional costs. And while it’s true that high-end tech­nol­ogy adds to higher cost. But by de­sign­ing and build­ing wise this cost can be made vi­able. In fact a Green Build­ing can at times pro­vide a 20-20-20 sav­ing. That is up to 20% in con­struc­tion cost, op­er­a­tional cost and earn­ing through vol­un­tary car­bon cred­its by re­duc­ing the Green House Gas emis­sion is pos­si­ble. There are also op­tions avail­able to have RESCO’s, re­new­able en­ergy ser­vice com­pa­nies who work with a se­lect few sus­tain­able de­sign firm, who on be­ing hired, in­vests in the cap­i­tal cost of So­lar PV, thus elim­i­nat­ing any ini­tial cap­i­tal ex­pen­di­ture. With the op­tion to payback in a 20 year pe­riod. This im­me­di­ately re­duces cost of en­ergy and make the Brick & Mor­tar Re­tail vi­able. Th­ese de­sign firms are presently ex­plor­ing op­tions to find in­vestors who would fund the com­plete plethora of EEM’s – Geo­ther­mal, Low E-Glaz­ing, LED & Air-Con­di­tion­ers too. This sys­tem al­ready works in the USA. In fact some have tied up with Avan­te­grade en­trepreneurs in In­dia, who have man­u­fac­tured prod­ucts such as re­frig­er­a­tors, air-con­di­tion­ers, ceil­ing fans and tube-lights which run with a mere 2 Kilo-Watt of Di­rect Cur­rent (DC) in­stead of A/c thus com­ple­ment their ef­forts on a RESCO model of de­sign. So with So­lar PV on roof-top a small re­tail shop can be­come com­pletely self-suf­fi­cient in en­ergy. Even with a CAPEX cost the fast payback pe­riod th­ese prod­uct have, the company would have zero en­ergy cost in 5-7 years! The most im­por­tant take away from the above is that each in­di­vid­ual be­comes a stake holder in mak­ing In­dia a business power house while keep­ing sus­tain­abil­ity of the eco-sys­tem and thus by de­fault ones’ own self and pros­per. It’s time for Re­tail to adopt and adapt to Green Business Ideas!

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