High energy usage is a widely recognized concern when operating a grocery store; lighting, compressors, heating, cooling all have a negative impact on the bottom line. John and Rhonda Wentworth, the owner’s of Wentworth Family Grocery in Northport, were determined to increase their profitability by making their operations more energy and cost efficient.
The Wentworths worked closely with USDA Rural Development to help fund their energy efficiency improvements using the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Grant funds totaling $49,940 (25% percent of the total project cost) were used toward various improvements, including upgrading from reciprocal to scroll compressors, installing higher efficiency freezer cases, updating the old T-12 fluorescent lighting to new T-8 fixtures, and adding insulation.
The store renovations and upgrades were completed in February of 2011. In 2012, the store realized an energy savings of over 135,000 kWh, which equates to almost $15,000 in cost savings. Additionally, the upgrades resulted in a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions estimated at 93.4 metric tons, the equivalent of removing 19 vehicles from the road for a year!
Using alternative and renewable energy sources improve the bottom line for businesses, while protecting the rural communities in which we live. USDA Rural Development is dedicated to providing opportunity and access for rural small businesses to improve their operations through energy efficient technologies and improvements. Subsequent to this REAP grant, the grantee benefitted from $2.6 million in Business & Industry Guaranteed Loans, $1 million of which was used to further renovate the facility in Northport.