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Vending machines are ubiquitous around campus, and all vending machines consume a significant amount of energy – contributing to green house gas emissions, air pollution, and increased electric bills.
With the vending contract expiring Summer 2009, FGCU made the request to have more energy efficient equipment in the new contract, requiring the use of either Energy Star qualified machines or having a VendingMiser® unit attached.
Energy Star is a voluntary labeling program designed to identify and promote energy efficient products to help reduce greenhouse emissions by identifying energy efficient products. Originally designed for computers and monitors, it has now expanded to include office products, major appliances, lighting, home electronics, and even vending machines.
VendingMiser® uses a passive infrared sensor to power down the machine when the surrounding area is vacant, monitor the room's temperature, automatically repower the cooling system at one- to three-hour intervals, independent of sales, and ensure the product stays cold.
To validate the assumption that Energy Star and VendingMiser® units save energy and to determine the amount of energy and dollars saved.
In anticipation of the close of the contract period for vending, the Environmental Heath & Safety department at FGCU set out to collect electrical readings on the existing vending machines.
Vending machines were plugged into a device called a Kill-A-Watt, which is then plugged into the electrical outlet to track the kilowatts used per hour.
Over half of the total of snack and vending machines were sampled both before and after the transition of machines. The devices were attached to vending units ranging from as little as six (6) hours to as many as five hundred and three (503) hours at a time. The kilowatts per hour used by machines were averaged according to type of machine (as beverage vending uses additional power to refrigerate) and compared before and after the machines were transitioned.
With a average 25% decrease in kWh for beverage vending machines and a 31% decrease in kWh for snack vending machines it is apparent that the switch to requiring that vending equipment become more energy efficient was a wise move.
If the vending macine fleet size remains the same, these saving translates to a difference of $4625.28 per year for the fleet of beverage machines and $398.59 per year for snack machines.
Overall this can annually saves FGCU:
Additional analysis should be performed to compare specific models of vending units to determine the most efficient machines on campus.
Eliminating machines with low sales performance would also decrease energy requirements.
Energy studies can be performed with ballast lights removed from machines to determine additional savings. Concurrent sales studies could also be done to determine if the machine lighting has an effect on sales.
Studying the combining of VendingMiser® devices on Energy Star machines to determine cost benefit ratios and return of investment may also lead to more cost reduction.