A Zone Mechanical energy management system

Zone Mechanical energy efficient systems help supermarkets operate cost effectively.


A national chain of upscale supermarkets / 21 stores across the midwest


To recommission the electrical and mechanical systems in more than 20 upscale supermarkets so that they may better monitor and control their energy usage.


This national supermarket chain collects energy consumption data from dozens of stores, to try to better understand why some perform well and others don’t. Using various electronic monitoring tools, including those from Virginia-based Parasense, Zone Mechanical installed metering that would measure the power usage for the entire building as well as separate refrigeration, lighting and HVAC areas.

Even though the stores are all different, an energy cost per square foot benchmark can be set once the data is collected and analyzed. Once it’s known what they are spending and where they are spending it, they can use that metric across the entire chain of stores.

The Zone Mechanical work includes an elaborate system of alarms, where a monitor receives an email alert to any spikes in energy usage. While something as simple as the installation of optical sensors will correct a lighting issue, how Zone Mechanical handles refirgeration leaks is a lot more sophisticated.

Indeed, the Zone Mechanical system evaluates the 16 worst spots in a store and monitors them in real time – to try to catch potential refrigeration leaks in their very early stages. Air samples are taken in the cooler or machine room, and if a certain level of refrigerant is detected, an alert is triggered.

In this way, when even the smallest of leaks may be detected and corrected early, a system will run nearly continuously at peak performance, which results in monetary savings – and ultimately fewer service calls.


While the cost savings achieved from the installation of new energy efficient equipment may seem self evident, the systemic effects of Zone Mechanical’s rigorous monitoring are much more palpable. Sure, the new equipment brings immediate results, in terms of the reduction in power consumption or refrigerant leakage. But how do you keep the system running like new? How do you prevent degradation over time?

These are the benefits of retro-commissioning, persistence and perpetual commissioning, where Zone Mechanical studies the original equipment designs, logs data on any variations that may have occurred and continuously makes corrections. In this way, optimal settings are made “persistent.” That is, you don’t just fix something once and walk away. Through monitoring, you are alerted the moment something goes wrong and then make every effort to correct it – immediately. This is how Zone Mechanical customers achieve long-term benefits.

You don’t just pay for [the fixes] once and then watch the system degrade over time. Retro-commissioning, persistance and perpetual commissioning allows you to keep those savings.

Bob Hornback

Director, Energy Management, Zone Mechanical

A Zone Mechanical supervisor checks system settings
A Zone Mechanical service van