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Night hawks - Reduction of idle losses by off production time visits (NIGHT HAWKS)

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The Night Hawks project has raised awareness about energy efficiency in the retail industry. The project has engaged stakeholders through "Night Walks": off production hours site inspections i.e. energy checks. In addition to this, a training program targeting the staff at the participating shopping centres, retail parks and shops has been undertaken. More than 1,500 persons in the sector of shops, shopping centres and retail parks participated in the trainings and increased their knowledge in energy efficiency and energy awareness. 123 shops and shopping centres have participated. There is a significant energy savings potential, an average of 10-11% and sometimes over 16% from no cost and low cost measures. In order to achieve this, it is recommended to raise awareness around energy usage with staff and management, highlighting the consumption of their own technical installations and identifying the possible savings potential. Most management knows that reducing costs can increase profits, though they do not realise that every day that goes by without energy savings actually costs money.  In order to achieve this concrete savings potential, the use of a straightforward but educative approach is important. 


The target was to meet and train at least 1040 persons working within the retail sector. The target “number of trained persons” was exceeded by 46%, in total 1523 persons were trained during 119 trainings. Rich training material is available online with a handbook, slides, mini-documentary, on line calculators, case studies and best practice examples. In total, 123 Night Walks have been performed, which is 3 more than the original plan. On average, the potential energy savings are around 10%. These can be achieved by mostly implementing measures that do not require large investments or the payback period of these measures does not exceed 5-10 years. This estimation includes only technical changes – it does not account for energy savings achieved through raised awareness. The energy savings- based on an emission factor for electricity - are estimated at 13860 MWh/year, which corresponds to 4135 tonne CO2 emissions per year and savings of 2,220,000 € per year for the participating companies. The guidebook was developed and divided in two sections; a technical guide concerning energy efficiency in the retail sector, followed by a second part with best practises and case studies collected within the framework of Night Hawks. The results oriented report completes the picture of the elaborated guide, on how to duplicate the results and findings of this project. 

Lessons learned

  • Getting the management/the decision makers on board and motivated is a key for success. The Night Walks is an eye opener than can be this driver.
  • Monitoring is a key to success. There is a lack of monitoring the energy consumption in many of the visited shops and shopping centres. A very pertinent recommendation to the management is the need for monitoring energy consumption and getting a grasp of where the energy is used. Monitoring includes measuring, which makes advice regarding energy savings more relevant. Shop owners can interpret smart meter records and explain unusual patterns.
  • Easy and low cost solutions can make a difference. We usually find energy saving possibilities during hours when shops are closed; one example is the setback of plugin drink fridges, which is a very easy way to save energy.
  • Training is another key to gain energy savings. Staff members often propose routine changes themselves after some training.
  • Heating and cooling the same area at the same time is far more common than one could expect. Sometimes it is done by mistake and often, it is a matter of just adjusting the ventilation and heating systems. For example one partner observation: “In two supermarkets we found that comfort heating and cooling were on at the same time. We reduced the heating during the night and saved both heating and cooling. Savings are up to 15%.”

Partners and coordinator

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Energy Agency for Southeast Sweden
Contact point: 
Lena Eckerberg


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In brief

01/04/2013 to 30/09/2015
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