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    Program Developed to Reduce C-Store Energy Costs

    Southern California set to benefit from energy efficient program.

    Convenience stores can be energy hogs -- foodservice, coolers, fuel pumps and air conditioning all rack up the cost of energy for stores. To combat those high costs of store operations, Southern California Edison has developed the Convenience Store and Service Station Energy Efficiency Program (CS/SS Program).

    The free assistance program, with the goal of reducing energy consumption in the Southern California area, encourages the use of energy efficient space conditioning and refrigerators. It claims that the program, using geoexchange technology, can reduce peak electric demand by more than one third and cut consumption by 50 percent, equaling a 25 to 45 percent reduction in monthly energy costs.

    "This program will help Californians in ways that no other program can to reduce their energy use cost-effectively, lower the demand on the electric grid, and promote environmental stewardship," said Wael El-Sharif, executive director for the Geothermal Heat Pump Consortium (GHPC). The GHPC's goal is to increase the awareness and use of geoexchange technology in the U.S. and abroad.

    Geoexchange, a.k.a. "geothermal" or "ground source," heating and cooling uses the earth's temperature to provide the necessary heating or cooling. According to the Web site, Geoexchange works with the Earth's natural heat, which is collected in winter through a series of pipes installed below the surface of the ground. Fluid circulating in the loop carries this heat to the facility, then an indoor system uses electric compressors and heat exchangers in a vapor compression cycle -- similar to that of a refrigerator -- to concentrate and release energy inside the building at a higher temperature.

    In the summer, the process is reversed. Excess heat is drawn from the store, expelled into the pipes and absorbed by the Earth, the Web site states.

    Additional energy can be saved when the residual heat given off by refrigerators and coolers is absorbed and used to heat water for the building.

    The CS/SS Program provides design assistance -- cost analysis, soil conductivity testing, special financing and field support -- and has partnered with Trane Southern California, Trison Construction and WFI Global, manufacturers of Trane, ClimateMaster and WaterFurnace, respectively.

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