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What better retail sector HVAC can do for energy efficiency

By fitting and maintaining better HVAC systems and controls, we can help with retail sector energy efficiency and lower energy costs

Better retail HVAC can boost energy efficiency and control energy costs
Improving energy efficiency and controlling energy costs are key goals for retail businesses

With COP 27 ongoing in Egypt, it’s essential for every business to be thinking about reducing carbon emissions. And in addition to these broader global goals, retail businesses in the UK also face the pressure of current high energy costs. Not only does this boost their own cost base, but it also means that their customers may be changing their spending habits. For many retail businesses, there are practical steps to take in becoming more energy efficient. Managing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) better can achieve both improving energy efficiency and controlling energy costs. And in many businesses, saving energy is an easy win. In this blog, we’re taking a closer look at how Hodgkinson Bennis can help boost retail energy efficiency through better HVAC.

A coherent HVAC system makes a dramatic difference

Research by the Carbon Trust shows that three areas together account for around 80% of the retail sector’s average energy spend. These are HVAC, cooled storage, and lighting. Other companies can improve the latter elements of retail energy efficiency through better insulation, low-energy lighting, and modern refrigeration equipment. Here at Hodgkinson Bennis, we can focus on HVAC.

For many retail businesses, the different elements of HVAC may operate in opposition to each other, rather than working coherently. A new boiler and HVAC equipment is one obvious place to start reducing long-term retail energy usage. We are experts at fitting and commissioning new plant while allowing retailers to maintain service with minimum disruption. We can also outline any ongoing incentives to fit new equipment. For instance, smaller and medium-sized establishments may qualify for a Carbon Trust loan to install new energy-efficient equipment.

We may also be able to redesign a hot water system. As water is a metered and controllable resource, it’s possible to save on both water and energy costs by implementing inexpensive efficiency measures. Rationalising pipework will save people having to run the water in bathrooms until it becomes hot. And for stored hot water, we can help to set appropriate hot water temperatures. The optimum temperature for is 60ºC, which is adequate to kill Legionella bacteria and is sufficiently warm to use.

Keeping costs down using better control systems

One crucial area for retail environments is maintaining the right temperature during opening hours. Retail operations often overheat stores in winter to accommodate staff in short-sleeved uniforms, while customers are wearing warmer clothing. This can be a particular problem for food retailers with open refrigerators, or a shop which keeps its doors permanently open. At other times, especially during transitions between seasons, heating and cooling systems operate in conflict with each other. One solution is a temperature ‘dead band’: heating switches off once the temperature reaches 20ºC, but cooling comes in only when the temperature exceeds 23ºC.

Hodgkinson Bennis can fit the very latest control equipment to address all these problems. For larger stores, it’s worth considering a comprehensive building management system (BMS) which can reduce energy costs by over 10%. A BMS is a network of heating and ventilation controllers that are interfaced with a computer. For smaller stores, a compensator automatically regulates heating temperature based on outside conditions, while an optimum start controller learns how quickly the building reaches the desired temperature. For even smaller operations, a simple timer switch can even cover times when staff members are replenishing stock outside regular opening hours.

Energy efficiency through planned preventive maintenance

We’re also experts at managing systems so they operate at peak efficiency. For boilers, we can devise a servicing schedule, which will include annual safety checks for gas equipment. We’ll make sure that heating and hot water are distributed correctly, by maintaining pipework. Proper maintenance will minimise the risk of a major system malfunction. But should you need emergency repairs, we’re on hand for those too.

As for broader energy management processes, it’s essential is to make sure everyone understands its importance, and the benefits it brings. Commitment to energy efficiency must come from the top. But all staff are important in saving energy; motivate staff to feel their efforts make a difference, and that energy saving isn’t too technical. As an energy saving programme gathers momentum, it will be possible to track progress and highlight energy savings. It’s vital to set ambitious but realistic targets; while most UK businesses could reduce energy consumption by 10-40%, perhaps start with 5% per year. And just as maintenance is crucial for boiler equipment, resolving any housekeeping and other maintenance issues early can avoid expensive problems later. Securing the planet’s future can start with practical measures in every UK retail business.

To find out more about Hodgkinson Bennis and our retail HVAC services, contact one of the team today.

Please note, as from 1 September 2022, our new address is:

Hodgkinson Bennis Ltd

Unit 10, Spring Street Business Park

Spring Street


Greater Manchester


About Hodgkinson Bennis retail HVAC services

Hodgkinson Bennis designs, installs, and maintains the most fuel-efficient commercial and industrial boilers. Headquartered in Manchester, we work across the UK, particularly in the North West, North East and throughout the Midlands. Contact us today to discuss how we can deliver advanced commercial and industrial boilers, and our range of other services. At Hodgkinson Bennis, we have worked with commercial and industrial boilers since 1872. This history gives us an enviable amount of experience as pioneers in the industry. We place an enormous emphasis on ensuring the health and safety of all team members, suppliers, contractors, and the public. We provide the most fuel-efficient boiler solutions for industrial and commercial applications.


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