Mars Super Markets employs nearly 1,700 people and operates 17 retail stores in the greater Baltimore, Md., area, serviced by the company’s Baltimore-based 300,000-square-foot distribution center. In 2010, the company initiated an energy efficiency program to reduce costs and improve operations across its entire portfolio of buildings — offices, retail stores, and distribution center.
Mars Super Markets met its objective, thanks in large part to multiple rebate offerings from the Baltimore Gas & Electric (BGE) “Smart Energy Savers” program, managed by ICF-International. But Mars Super Markets did not go about the complicated process of applying for and securing those rebates on their own. Instead, they relied on Danfoss to work with ICF and help the grocery chain secure significant rebates.
Road to rebates begins with audit and re-commissioning
“As a first step, we audited each of the Mars Super Markets stores and the distribution center,” recalled Norm Masse, senior account manager, Danfoss, and account manager for this project. “Through the audit process we identified and evaluated the equipment in each facility and used this information to recommend projects that offered the best potential for improving efficiencies and energy use.”
Danfoss then proposed a re-commissioning program in which the company examined existing equipment at each store and took the necessary steps to bring it as close as possible to manufacturers’ specifications. This entailed basic things like oil changes, filter changes and the repair of deficiencies that were detected, as well as a number of more complex maintenance procedures.
“Mars Super Markets has been a Danfoss customer for many years,” said Mars Super Markets Director of Store Development Rick Snyder. “So, our long-term relationship with them and the trust we put in their ability to impact our operations in a positive way is grounded in a proven track record. The analysis they eventually presented to our company is a comprehensive document that includes spreadsheets and lists of equipment, as well as photographs and comments on the facility assets —things we might see every day, but things that a new set of trained eyes views quite differently.”
“We did a complete tune-up of all the HVAC and refrigeration systems,” explained Masse, “We then provided before-and-after operational comparisons to identify those projects that qualified for rebates as a result of improved operating efficiencies.”
In fact, during the evaluation of any energy project, it is routine to explore the availability of utility incentives and rebates that can help fund the project and improve a customer’s return on investment. In recent years, the demand for incentives and rebates has increased substantially, sparked to a great extent by a downturn in the economy.