The newer, VM2iQ is a device installed on the inside of the machine. It controls the machines' cooling system and does not shut off lights or external advertising. The device powers down the machine, but continues to monitor the room temperature. It powers up every one to two and a half hours to keep product cold. These internal units cost about $112, plus installation, which is usually performed by the operator.
USA Technologies estimates energy savings for the VendingMiser and VM2iQ at 46 percent and 35 percent, respectively, leading to location savings of between $100 and $150 per machine per year.
Although the VendingMiser gives energy savings similar to Energy Star, it cannot use the Energy Star logo because it is not Energy Star rated. If part of the rebuild program, the VM2iQ can have the Energy Star logo.
Devices Extend Machine Life
A quantitative savings for the vending operator is extended lifespan of the vending machine. Since both the VendingMiser and VM2iQ affect the cooling system, USA Technologies has a built-in safeguard for the compressors, eliminating short-cycling and high head-pressure starts.
The wear and tear on machines is therefore reduced, extending the life of a single machine. Foster Miller, a third party research company, has found the USA Technologies' devices can prolong several of the components and forestall preventative maintenance costs.
"It seems as energy prices continue to increase, people are becoming more concerned about the environment, people will continue to look for these types of products and request efficient machines," said Scott of USA Technologies. Operators can buy and install these devices as part of the contract or when asked by the location.
They can purchase it through USA Technologies and install it or give it to the location. Scott said USA Technologies offers support data which operators can give to locations about how much they would save.
Energy Star With Internal Components
Most new machines meet the sticker requirements for Energy Star. Shaw, with the Cadmus Group, said the most typical components to this efficiency rating are the lighting, compressor and fan motor. There is also software that allows the machine's lights to be turned off. The machine goes into storage mode, with a raised temperature during a certain time of day/day of week, which saves 20 to 30 percent more energy. This can translate to $40 to $50 on top of the $150 a year per machine saved just by using energy star components.
In 2006, the Davis School District in Farmington, Utah, decided it didn't want to pay high energy bills any longer and attacked the vending machines in individual schools. They began charging individual schools a $25 a month fee per vending machine.
The principals immediately called the bottlers serving their schools, asking for the machines' removal. The principals knew they'd be taking a revenue hit, but they couldn't afford the fees. It was the district's director of utility services who came up with the solution of saving energy with Energy Star vending machines.
Pepsi agreed to replace the 221 machines with Energy Star equipment by 2007. The savings in energy costs eliminated the need for a fee.
Even more savings can be reaped by a location using both technologies, Energy Star and VendingMiser.
The Cadmus group measured a machine at a University in Buffalo, N.Y. with both types of equipment and claimed it resulted in a 40 percent energy savings.
The Energy Star software allows a set storage mode, while the VendingMiser uses an occupancy sensor, allowing the machine to power down more often based on usage, rather than time of day. This would be especially useful at 24-hour locations where the software could not be applied.
For operators who have locations complaining about vending machine energy costs but unable to afford the new $3,000 to $4,000 Energy Star machines, the EPA recently introduced a rebuild program.
Shaw explained the program as a collection of refurbishment centers that will retrofit older machines with newer components, measure the energy use and determine if the machines meets Energy Star standards.
Once a suitable set of kits is determined, the model will enable operators to rebuild their old machines without having to go through the detailed measuring process. (See Chart 2.) Still in its early stages, the EPA is asking for participation in this program.