The most widely used aftermarket device is the VendingMiser, a passive infrared sensor that determines the vending environment is vacant, then powers down the machine to save energy when no one is in the area. The product is currently sold by Malvern, Pa.-based USA Technologies Inc.
Many government accounts have mandated VendingMisers, and utility companies have provided rebates to customers and vending operators for installing them. In 2003, more than 20 utility companies offered VendingMiser rebates nationwide.
Operators see more client concern
A random interview of operators indicated that customer interest in energy use is rising. The level of customer concern varies, as does the interest among operators to upgrade their machines to higher levels of efficiency.
“We have a lot of locations that have asked us to delamp the equipment,” said Jerry Scott, general manager of Canteen of Coastal California Inc. in Oxnard, Calif. In response to these requests, Scott’s company makes it a point to buy new machines that have LED lights instead of fluorescent lights since LED lights consume less electricity.
Scott has also found it worth his trouble to offer Energy Star certified machines when seeking new accounts. Government accounts have been requiring Energy Star machines for some time, he said, but private businesses are beginning to ask for them as well.
Scott said he has found it a competitive advantage to offer Energy Star machines.
California is one of several states where vending operators can receive rebates for using energy saving equipment, Scott said.
He has been earning rebates through a statewide program for VendingMisers.
Mike Bunt, general manager of corporate marketing equipment at Buffalo Rock Co., the Birmingham, Ala.-based Pepsi bottler and vending operator, said he has been getting requests for Energy Star machines from big national accounts. “It’s here; it’s going to get bigger and bigger,” he said.
Bunt, whose company has more than 100,000 cold drink machines, prefers to buy Energy Star certified machines rather than using aftermarket products. “There’s more to it than just putting the kit on it and saying it’s Energy Star,” he said.
D & S Food Service Inc., in Menomonee Falls, Wis., has been taking advantage of a statewide rebate program for years, noted Dave Kwarciany, Jr., company vice president. In Wisconsin, an operator can get $100 for an Energy Star machine and $60 for an energy control device from an organization called Focus On Energy. “My preference is to only invest in new equipment,” said Kwarciany, whose company owns 95 percent of the cold beverage machines it operates.
Dave Bloomquist, vice president of D&R Canteen in Rochester, Minn., said he has not been getting requests for Energy Star machines per se. He does, however, get requests to do something about rising electricity costs. In these cases, Bloomquist looks to see if a machine can be removed from the account. In today’s highly competitive environment, some accounts are over equipped.
New versus aftermarket products
Next Generation Vending & Food Service Inc., a company with an aggressive “green” initiative based in Canton, Mass., prefers new equipment over aftermarket products, noted Darryl Perkins, senior program manager for information systems. Aftermarket products that shut off the machine can create a problem for the company’s remote machine monitoring.
The shutdowns are not a problem as long as the power returns within 12 hours, Perkins said, but beyond 12 hours, the machine does not send the regularly scheduled data.
Shut downs caused by these devices have created other problems as well.
“We had a problem with people not using the machine because they assumed it was broken,” said Tim Fitzgerald, IT manager at CC Vending, based in Bronx, N.Y. Instead of devices that shut off the power, CC Vending uses Energy Star machines and is promoting them to new clients.