Corner Wine & Spirits saves with electronically commuted motors (ECMs)

Operational and product costs are on the rise, and this can hit small businesses the hardest. While some costs are unavoidable, most business owners can save money by reducing energy usage. That’s exactly what Nick Shaba learned when he took ownership of Corner Wine & Spirits in 2015.

“What was in the store when I bought it needed too much energy,” Shaba said. “I had to update a lot of things so my business expenses wouldn’t be so high.” – Nick Shaba, Owner

Businesses can easily improve energy efficiency by optimizing current equipment

The Comprehensive Energy Management Solutions (CEMS) program works with local businesses to identify and remedy energy waste. In 2022, Shawnda Garnett, CEMS Energy Efficiency Account Manager, contacted Shaba offering to help him find energy-saving opportunities at his store.

“I didn’t know programs like CEMS existed and could help businesses like mine,” Shaba said. After completing a free energy evaluation, the CEMS team recommended upgrades to his walk-in coolers as the best way to start saving money.

Save money powering refrigerators and coolers with energy-efficient ECMs

The coolers in Shaba’s store used permanent split capacitor (PSC) and shaded pole (SHP) motors to operate, which can only run at one speed. Typically, this speed provides more power than the system needs, wasting electricity.

To prevent this waste, the CEMS team recommended upgrading to ECMs, which allow for variable speeds based on the cooling equipment’s actual power needs. By delivering the correct amount of power, ECMs help compressors run less often and at lower speeds. This saves energy and helps protect the compressors as well.

A photo of Corner Spirits market. There is a man behind the checkout counter and a customer near the fridge.

GreenWize’s Orange Motor improves refrigeration efficiency

CEMS partnered with Bruce Malwitz of GreenWize Energy Solutions to supply and install the new motors. Malwitz has years of experience working in the food retail industry and understands how these businesses rely on their cooling equipment. “Refrigeration equipment is the lifeblood of grocery, convenience and liquor stores,” he said.

Malwitz developed the company’s Orange Motor—a patented type of ECM that can replace most PSC and SHP motors—with businesses like Shaba’s in mind. “Purchasing new equipment that can reduce maintenance costs and use less energy is a win-win,” Malwitz said.

CEMS helps businesses save money through energy efficiency

CEMS provided cash incentives to help cover the cost of purchasing and installing the new motors. Shaba also upgraded his store’s refrigeration systems with anti-sweat heater controls and auto door closers.

In all, the project is projected to save Corner Wine & Spirits an estimated $13,000 in energy costs*, equipment, labor and maintenance over the next five years. Shaba says he’s already seeing the benefits.

“The old motors were so loud, but you can hardly tell these new ECMs are on. They are efficient and run smooth,” he said.

*estimated savings are based on current electricity rates.

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Last Updated: April 27, 2023