Lowe’s mantra: Measure, reduce, generate

If you don’t measure it, you can’t improve it. That’s management 101, and it applies to managing home energy use, too.

At Lowe’s, measuring energy is one of the three pillars of its Energy Centers, launched nationwide last month. Described as a fully integrated energy solution, the innovative product displays promote three ways for consumers to save: measure, reduce and generate.

“The Energy Center builds on Lowe’s commitment to bring more innovative products and services to our customers,” said Nick Canter, Lowe’s executive VP merchandising. For instance, the merchandise mix includes the hand-held Black & Decker Thermal Leak Detector ($49.99), and Westinghouse solar panels ($893 each).

The idea began as a 21-store trial in California in December, and expanded nationwide to all 1,700 stores last month.

By collecting energy efficiency in a centralized area, the initiative differs from that of rival Home Depot, which intentionally mixed its ground-breaking Eco Options products throughout the store, promoting green products alongside regular merchandise, even when customers aren’t necessarily looking for it.

But for Lowe’s, the “one convenient location” aspect of the center is viewed as a strength.

“By pulling together comprehensive options to help them manage their energy use, the Energy Center makes it easier for customers to become more energy efficient, while putting money back in their pocket,” Canter said.