Uwajimaya Recognized for Energy Efficiency Initiatives

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Uwajimaya Recognized for Energy Efficiency Initiatives


Hawaiian-based grocer Uwajimaya last week was recognized for its ongoing efforts to conserve energy through eco-friendly business practices.

EnergySmart Grocer and several utilities gathered at the grocer’s Seattle store on Oct. 9 to present CEO Tomoko Moriguchi Matsuno a check signifying the rebates the company has received for the many high-efficiency improvements it has made over the years.

“We believe in sustainability, because we’ve been here for 84 years and we want to be here for another 84 years,” said Moriguchi Matsuno. “We want to do our part as a role model for the district and our Asian counterparts.”

Guest speakers included Margaret Lewis of Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), David Landers of Puget Sound Energy, Lori Moen of Seattle City Light, EnergySmart Grocer’s Mike Sandberg, and Moriguchi Matsuno who was happy to accept the honor on behalf of Uwajimaya.

Since 2006, Uwajimaya has worked closely with EnergySmart Grocer to lessen its environmental impact through a series of energy-saving equipment upgrades. With financial and program delivery support from Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), Puget Sound Energy (PSE), Seattle City Light and other participating utilities, the EnergySmart Grocer program provides personal guidance and cash rebates to make high-efficiency upgrades easy and affordable.

“We applaud their leadership and dedication to improving energy efficiency in their grocery stores,” said Gary Smith, BPA’s EnergySmart Grocer program manager. “Uwajimaya’s strategy of rolling over the energy savings and rebate incentives from one project to help pay for the next project is a winning formula which could set the standard for other program participants.”

EnergySmart Grocer is a vital component of BPA’s commercial energy efficiency programs, and continues to attract new participants. Last year alone, the program accounted for roughly 25 percent of BPA’s regional commercial sector energy savings. Since 2007, in partnership with BPA’s public power customers, over 3,500 grocery and convenience stores have received refrigeration retrofits and helped save over 17.5 aMWs of electricity, enough to power 12,775 homes for one year.

Uwajimaya’s most recent efforts included comprehensive energy upgrades to its newest location in Bellevue, Wash., as well as the Seattle store. The Bellevue project focused primarily on refrigeration. Upgrades included a high-efficiency compressor system, rooftop condensers, efficient motors for walk-in coolers and display cases, and door heater controls. These changes, along with a new energy management system, are expected to save the store 570,000 kWh annually, which translates to $39,000 in energy cost savings. Rebates from EnergySmart Grocer and PSE paid for more than $71,000 of the installation costs.

Upon receiving the rebate money from the Bellevue project, Uwajimaya immediately reinvested in additional high-efficiency lighting and refrigeration upgrades for its Seattle location. That store is now poised to save an extra 434,313 kWh per year, with rebates from Seattle City Light contributing $66,680 toward the project. Moving forward, Uwajimaya is set to roll the savings from these upgrades into even more improvements, including LED case lighting for each of its stores.

All told, Uwajimaya has successfully completed 11 energy-saving projects since it began working with EnergySmart Grocer in 2006. Those projects combine to save an impressive 1.7 million kWh annually, while Uwajimaya has received more than $225,000 in rebates from EnergySmart Grocer and local utilities to help offset the costs of new equipment and installation.

EnergySmart Grocer helps supermarkets, convenience stores and other businesses save energy and money through high-efficiency retrofits. Most of these efforts focus on refrigeration and lighting, areas where significant energy-saving opportunities abound. The program offers no-cost energy audits, site-specific analysis, access to qualified contractors, and financial rebates for suggested upgrades.