Asian Supermarket Lights Up with Energy Efficiency

SCE helps 99 Ranch Market save energy and costs through energy-efficient lighting and refrigeration equipment.
Aug 22, 2018 1:05 PM ET

At 99 Ranch Market in Hacienda Heights, the brightly lit refrigerators display a line of unique Asian food items like durian and dumplings under new LED lights.

Shoppers no longer have to be bundled in warm clothing when browsing through the refrigerated aisles, said Christopher Connaughton, 99 Ranch Market’s procurement manager. Many of their open-front refrigerated display cases were replaced with energy-efficient enclosed cases this year.

“The LEDs provide brighter and more consistent lighting and the new doors on the refrigerators help to provide a more comfortable aisle temperature in our refrigerated and frozen sections of the store,” he said. “Customers will be able to enjoy a better overall shopping experience.”

For Connaughton, energy and cost savings is always top of mind. He purchases equipment for new store locations and remodels for the largest Asian-American supermarket chain in the country.

The first Tawa Supermarket store, parent company of 99 Ranch Market, was opened in Westminster’s Little Saigon neighborhood in 1984 by founder Roger H. Chen. The chain has grown to more than 50 stores, primarily in California and six other states.

When it was time to renovate the Hacienda Heights store, Connaughton worked with Southern California Edison to learn about potential energy and cost savings for lighting and refrigeration. He also had the opportunity to check out energy-efficient equipment at SCE’s Foodservice Technology Center in Irwindale.

Through its long partnership with SCE, 99 Ranch Market upgraded its light fixtures to new energy-efficient LED lights and improved its refrigeration systems by installing new energy-efficient racks, cases and doors in several of its regional stores in San Gabriel, Rancho Cucamonga, Rowland Heights, Alhambra and Hacienda Heights.

As of this year, the company is reducing its energy use by 411,000 kilowatt-hours annually, resulting in lower bills and energy savings. It has also seen more than $56,000 in savings through incentives.

“It seems the cost of equipment always goes up,” said Connaughton. “It is great to have a partner that is willing to provide and share information on new technologies and how the cost of these can be offset through utility rebates.”

“We’re doing a lot of different energy-efficiency projects with 99 Ranch Market and there could be potentially more in the future, including fast-charging electric vehicle charging stations,” said Chris Escanuelas, an account manager in SCE’s Business Customer Division.

Escanuelas encourages businesses to get in touch with their SCE account manager to get an energy audit and see if there are opportunities for energy savings. “Our field representatives can go out and take a look to see what type of opportunities and incentives we might have,” he said.

Earlier this year, 99 Ranch Market received the Energy Efficiency Participation Award at SCE's Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month celebration of Asian business and community partners.

“I care about energy efficiency because it is the right thing to do,” said Connaughton. “We are all part of a global community and every little bit we do to reduce our energy consumption and carbon footprint helps to reduce the strain on our environment.”

To learn more about energy savings for businesses, click here.