Next Step Living Partnership to Save Shoppers More than $3 Million in Energy Costs over Five Years
In early 2013, Stop & Shop New England, which includes 214 stores in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island, was looking for ways to further the three goals of its Better Neighbor Promise: Care for the environment, support the community and better the lives of the supermarket giant’s customers. By partnering with Next Step Living, New England’s leading provider of home energy solutions, Stop & Shop has taken measurable strides towards fulfilling that promise.
“Stop & Shop is known for its leadership and environmental stewardship," says Jihad Rizkallah, vice president of responsible retailing for Ahold USA Retail. "One environmental goal of our responsible-retailing commitment is to reduce our company's carbon footprint by 20% by 2015, by reducing our consumption of electricity and natural gas, reducing refrigerant leaks and so on."
"But our commitment doesn't stop with our own operations," adds Rizkallah. "We want to influence the behavior of our employees and show our customers the benefits of saving energy. This way, we enlarge the pool of folks who are educated about – and committed to – sustainability initiatives." Stop & Shop launched a partnership with Next Step Living to help put the supermarket company on a path to achieving that broader sustainability goal.
Easy-to-Implement Program Yields Big Energy Savings.
From Stop & Shop’s perspective, implementing the partnership has been straightforward. Store managers work with Next Step Living to schedule appearances of home-energy representatives at information tables in supermarkets. Stop & Shop customers stop by and learn about the steps they can take to improve their homes’ energy efficiency so they can save energy and money while living more sustainably and comfortably.
Next Step Living representatives encourage shoppers to begin with a comprehensive home energy evaluation that, depending on a customer’s utility provider, costs little or no money. Conducted by a Next Step Living energy advisor, it can include installation of quick fixes like programmable thermostats and energy-efficient light bulbs. The energy advisor also makes recommendations for energy-efficiency and renewable-energy upgrades, from weatherization to high-efficiency ductless mini split systems to solar power systems.
Partnership Makes a Big Impact.
The Stop & Shop New England partnership with Next Step Living has generated broad, deep and continuing interest among the supermarket company’s customers. Almost 15,000 grocery shoppers have learned more about home energy efficiency and sustainability.
That interest has translated into a significant environmental impact and generated savings for Stop & Shop customers. More than 3,000 completed a home energy evaluation and received various quick fixes that prevent more than 1,100 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually. Those quick fixes also will help Stop & Shop customers save more than an estimated $1.5 million on their utility bills over the next five years.
Another 700 Stop & Shop customers decided to weatherize their homes, typically with insulation and air sealing, and these improvements will prevent another 1,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions over five years, while saving homeowners almost $1.4 million in energy costs.
Special Dividends: Happy Customers, Satisfied Homeowners.
Stop & Shop is pleased to hear that its customers are happy with home-energy improvements performed by Next Step Living. "Every individual from Next Step Living and their subcontractors was great to work with," says a Stop & Shop customer in Weymouth, Mass., who had a ductless mini split heating and cooling system installed. "They were very professional, polite and efficient."
Other customers say that the Stop & Shop partnership with Next Step Living has made a difference in their lives as homeowners. "I would have never pursued a home energy assessment if Next Step Living hadn't greeted me at the Stop & Shop," says a customer from Connecticut.
"People speak highly of our partnership with Next Step Living. Working together with our customers, our actions to save energy are having a great impact."
Vice President, Responsible Retailing
Ahold USA Retail
Stop & Shop New England has also encouraged its employees to think about, and act on, sustainability at home. “We brought the Next Step Living folks into our Quincy, Mass., headquarters and had 45 or 50 employees sign up for home energy assessments," says Rizkallah. "People speak highly of our partnership with Next Step Living. Working together with our customers, our actions to save energy are having a great impact."
(Editor's note: Starting September 1, 2015, Next Step Living® has partnered with leading solar installer NRG for its customers’ rooftop solar needs.)
(Editor's note: Next Step Living recommends ductless mini splits as an energy-efficient heating and cooling solution, but does not directly offer them to homeowners. If interested, we can connect you to an HVAC partner to suit your needs.)