Hardware Retailing

AUG 2017

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

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HARDWARE RETAILING | August 2017 96 and GreenLogic Energy, a solar power panel contractor serving the Long Island area, to develop a plan that would result in a building that was efficient enough to have zero net-energy consumption. Since the Miller Place location was due to be remodeled, the Brinkmanns decided to start there with their project. During an extensive renovation, they stripped the building down to its studs and began sealing up the structure with insulation. Large windows lend natural light to the inside, and LED lights only require a small amount of energy. The roof has a layer of insulation 1 foot thick, and is covered by a white thermoplastic membrane that reflects heat. Covering the membrane are solar panels, which provide the power the building needs for its minimal electricity needs. The largest investment was a geothermal heating and cooling system. This system reaches 120 feet into the earth and uses the constant ground temperature to heat and cool the store. While it's expensive to install, on average this type of system is 40 percent more efficient than traditional heating and cooling systems. It also requires no natural fuel to operate, and it receives all of the electrical power needed to run it from the solar panels. Making the upgrades required a large up-front initial investment, but Ben expects to recoup the costs quickly. He received a variety of rebates from the federal and local governments, and PSEG, which reduced the installation cost by nearly 40 percent. With savings of nearly $35,000 per year in energy, his investment should pay for itself in less than four years. Getting to net-zero means the building needs to generate as much, if not more, energy as it consumes. Miller Place arrived at that point in its first year after renovation. To keep track of his progress, Ben uses a net meter, which is a type of meter designed specifically for energy customers who use solar panels to produce energy. When the building is producing more power than it needs, the meter runs backwards, indicating power is going back into the power grid. When that happens, the power company pays him for the excess power he generates. The first year, Ben received $18,000. Leading the Industry Brinkmann's has already received accolades from PSEG as the first net-zero energy retail location in the state of New York. And in an article on its A placard posted inside the store shows customers how the different systems around the building save energy.

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