Aaron Daly, Global Director of Energy Management – Whole Foods Market

Aaron Daly

Global Director of Energy Management

Whole Foods Market

Please tell us your job responsibilities and day-to-day activities.

I am responsible for all aspects of energy management for the company, both supply side and demand side. I’m working with our 12 regional teams to execute on our better buildings challenge commitment of a 20% reduction in energy consumption, working with our industry partners to increase our use of rooftop solar energy and working on integrating next generation controls and monitoring infrastructure.

What is your biggest energy challenge in 2017, and how are you addressing it?

My biggest energy challenge is integrating the broad array of new and exciting technologies that are available in areas such as building controls, IOT, demand response, storage and onsite generation. We’ve been conducting a number of pilots in these areas while working on a broad approach to tech innovation, adoption and integration with existing systems.

Is there a specific recent project or implementation you worked on at your company that you can share? Any tips you can share that would help colleagues at other companies who are contemplating similar projects?

We’re working on a near zero energy grocery store pilot currently. The pilot is taking the idea of energy efficiency much further than we have been able to pursue in most of our stores and requires that we look not only at each system for performance but at the entire building and how each piece can work together. We’ve also had the good fortune to spend the time to review a wide array of cutting edge technologies, such as DC microgrid controls and phase change materials to optimize our store. It’s both fun and exciting on one hand and incredibly useful on the other. This pilot is helping us figure out how to move our whole portfolio in the direction of zero net energy.

Please tell us what you see in the market in the next few years. What will be the biggest challenges the industry will face?

I think that the stresses on the corporate energy manager will increase over the coming years. As reliability and resilience become key corporate concerns, along with sustainability and climate policies, the role of the energy manager becomes ever more complex. We’ll clearly continue to optimize for cost and in support of our core business initiatives but we’ll also have a host of other concerns and their various business solutions to make sense of. It’s both daunting and exhilarating at the same time.

Tell us about a favorite hobby, passion, or book  you’ve read recently that has had an impact on you.

The book Sapiens is a must read. It will stretch anyone’s understanding of what it means to be human.

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