Big-Box Efficiency Project


The Big-Box Efficiency Project demonstrated the ability of an integrated suite of pre-commercial energy efficiency technologies to reduce electricity use by 20% in an existing Walmart Supercenter, creating a blueprint for big-box retail stores to achieve similar energy and cost savings.

With funding from the California Energy Commission, the test was conducted at a Walmart Supercenter in the City of Covina, about 20 miles east of Los Angeles. After project installations, electricity use was cut by 20.4%, reducing store load by 701,900 kWh a year and saving $110,900 in annual utility bills. An additional 12% in electricity savings could be achieved from further store lighting changes and other minor modifications.

This project is part of efforts by the California Legislature to reduce energy use in large retail and commercial buildings, create a more stable electrical grid and meet the state’s carbon emission reduction goals.

“The Center for Sustainable Energy has collaborated with Walmart every step of the way in a demonstration project to help validate the savings potential of pre-commercial energy efficiency technologies. We value CSE’s deep expertise and experience in guiding the project and identifying key lessons that can be applied to similar projects as we work toward a zero-emissions future,” Bob Stone, Sr. Manager, Renewable Power & Energy Efficiency, Walmart Energy


Big-Box Efficiency Project Impacts

20% less energy use
Establishes proof of concept for emerging energy efficiency technologies.
Meets California SB 350 goals
Provides a pathway for buildings to achieve SB 350 goals to double statewide electricity and gas savings by 2030.
Helps Walmart’s
zero-emissions plan
Walmart will leverage the findings to help achieve zero-emissions operations by 2040.

Program at a Glance

Program Goals

Demonstrate the effectiveness of precommercial energy efficiency technologies to achieve at least a 20 percent reduction in electricity consumption.

CSE's Role

Prime contractor/project management
Site characterization
Measurement & verification
Technology knowledge transfer


Distributed Energy Resources
Energy Efficiency
Energy Engineering

Key Partners

Walmart, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, TRC Energy Services, P2S Engineering Inc., Southern California Edison, Davenergy Solutions, Emily Grene, Locbit, i2 Systems, Turntide by Software Motor Company, Integrated Comfort Inc. and SAYA.

State Policies Supported

California Senate Bill 350
CPUC proceedings: demand response, energy efficiency and integrated distributed energy resources

Impact Statement

Potential to lower big-box retail store energy consumption and costs, improve food safety, increase grid reliability and reduce greenhouse gas emissions