National Stores, Inc.

Background: National Stores Inc. is a family-owned retail chain headquartered in Los Angeles, California, with more than 360 locations in twenty-two states and Puerto Rico. They offer brand-name and private-label clothing, shoes, and household items.

Problem: Without an energy management system in place, all energy control was at the store level which meant store managers simply had to ‘remember to check’ daily that everything was turned off or set correctly before they closed up each night– an extra responsibility that was often forgotten.

Leaving HVAC systems running burned unnecessary cash and meant extra stress and maintenance on machinery, leading to system failures during hot summer days. What National Stores needed was some way of taking control of the HVAC systems in the stores and regulating them without having to rely on the memory and willingness of the store managers.

National Stores, like many other multi-site commercial businesses, had been deterred from adopting an energy management system as they believed them to be disruptive, costly, slow to show ROI and a huge undertaking from the point of view of the infrastructure required within the building.

With hundreds of locations across North America, National Stores needed:

  • a means to move HVAC and lighting controls from the store level to a single portal to help monitor and control HVAC, lighting and energy consumption costs
  • an energy management solution to significantly reduce energy usage and costs
  • a solution that was not expensive to implement with a fast payback. After doing an extensive market evaluation of available solutions, including evaluating energy brokers who work directly with suppliers to obtain the best deal on electricity and gas, National Stores selected Zen HQ.

Solution: Energy Professionals technology partner, Zen Ecosystems provides intelligent energy management solutions to businesses and consumers. Zen HQ is an energy management system designed for the unique needs of businesses and utilities to provide insights and control over multisite commercial energy usage while delivering the fastest payback in the market. The Zen Thermostat is a beautiful, simple connected device for home and business that also enables multi system operators to enhance the customer experience.

As part of the nation-wide deployment across National Stores’ locations, Zen HQ was installed in the company’s corporate offices where more than 200 employees are located.  Zen HQ enabled National Stores to define schedules at a national, regional and site level to effectively manage HVAC usage and included lockout controls to prevent on-site deviations from schedules. Management could view heating, cooling, lighting and energy usage in dynamic visual graphs in Zen HQ to monitor usage and consumption more easily. This resulted in National Stores having:

  • Management now has control  and greater insight into energy usage and costs
  • Demand Response program  participation has led to new revenue streams for the    business
  • ROI is anticipated in 6-12 months, compared to an industry average of 5 years
  • 25% reduction in their Energy Bills compared to the previous years “

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