DTE Energy

Award category

Innovation

Year released

2011

DTE Energy's successful Independent Grocer's Incentive Program, which introduced energy efficient solutions to a hard-to-reach market segment, is the winner of this year's Inspiring Efficiency Innovation Award, from the Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance (MEEA). Detroit has no big footprint or chain grocery stores, and instead relies on a network of small, independent grocers to serve the city's residents. DTE's program to help these grocers reduce their energy costs and keep produce fresher dovetailed with the City's efforts to make more fresh foods available to its local residents. As a market segment, Detroit's independent grocers also represented a high potential for energy savings. Their extended hours of operation, combined with energy-intensive equipment such as coolers and walk-in freezers, have traditionally made for high energy bills. Also, compared to big box competitors such as Walmart, independent grocers tend to have older, far less efficient equipment. However, despite their potential for energy savings, Detroit's grocers had proved to be a hard-to-reach segment in previous energy efficiency initiatives. The need to engage grocers with their own custom program became clear when DTE discovered that not a single independent grocery store had participated in its existing Commercial and Industrial Incentive Program. In order to develop a custom, easy-to-use program, DTE performed energy audits on three local independent grocery stores and then used their findings to develop a prescriptive à la carte program for use by all the area's grocers.

Document

IEA-2011_award-release_dte.pdf