Shining a Light on Our Energy Use
We are always looking to evolve our business in order to meet customers' needs and expectations. It's no secret that one critical expectation is to operate as a responsible company that plays a role in supporting communities and protecting the environment. It's a responsibility we take seriously, and we're proud of the progress we've made thus far. We've reduced our overall use of valuable natural resources, donated millions of dollars to nonprofits across the U.S. and Canada and partnered with our customers to have a positive impact in their own backyards.
This Earth Day, we are particularly proud of our efforts around energy reduction. Over the past four years, we've been working aggressively toward our goal to reduce the amount of energy we use per square foot of our total operations. In 2014, we set a goal to reduce our energy intensity by 15% by 2020. In 2018, we not only achieved our goal two years early, we exceeded it. Since 2014, we've reduced our energy consumption per square foot by 17.1%, effectively saving the energy needed to power 9,391 homes for a year.
So how did we beat our goal two years early? We focused on the little things – lightbulb sized little things to be exact. The primary driver behind our success was the result of a three-year initiative to replace nearly every fluorescent light in our business with an LED bulb – that's over 700,000 bulbs in offices, stores and facilities. Since beginning this lighting project, we've found that stores with LED bulbs use 14% - 16% less energy overall.
This is just one part of our overall energy reduction strategy, which includes leveraging our energy platform tool alongside the energy management systems (EMS) in our stores. With about 300 data energy points uploading to the cloud every 10 minutes, the energy platform helps us quickly create reports and make decisions. With improved reporting, our systems engineers are able to focus their efforts and solve the most pressing problems. Additionally, the energy platform helps us track our energy conservation efforts and the related monetary savings.
Moving forward, we're continuing smaller-scale retrofit initiatives where we can make a meaningful difference and return on investment.