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Chicago-based independent Pete's Fresh Market remains one of the greenest supermarket retailers in the U.S., by carefully tracking energy usage of its equipment and using only equipment with a proven energy efficiency track record at previous stores.
The grocer's new 62,000-square-foot, suburban Chicago Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., store uses air curtains, dedicated outdoor air dehumidification, high-efficiency rooftop HVAC units, CO2 refrigeration systems, a green roof and energy recovery equipment that were successfully tested in previous stores.
For Eugene Grzynkowicz, senior project development executive at Pete's, going green is environmental, but it is also a long-term solution to reducing supermarket operational costs. "With all the federal money available and utility incentives, we're trying to take advantage of today's green technology, as long as it works," he said.
Air curtains, which appear on all nine of Pete's stores, are best known as chemical-free sanitation alternatives to eliminating flying insect infiltration through foodservice back entrance shipping doors, especially in California which has a state health code mandating them. Pete's Oakbrook Terrace store has Mark II Series air curtains above the front entrance's automatic double sliding doors on all entry and exit vestibules.
According to Grzynkowicz, the air curtains target flying insect infiltration, but are equally important in conserving energy and keeping employees and customers comfortable at check-out during the winter months. The air curtains keep indoor and outdoor environments separate by "sealing" the doorways with a strong airstream. Additionally, nearby employees and customers get supplemental heating with an onboard, thermostatically-controlled 20-kW electric heating coil.
Installed by mechanical contractor, B and N Sheet Metal Co., the three-speed air curtains include an onboard programmable control package. When the door opens, a low-voltage magnetic read switch simultaneously activates the air curtain's highest programmed speed and electric heater, the latter only if needed for surrounding indoor air comfort.
In addition to air curtains, Pete's is saving energy with dedicated outdoor air dehumidifiers by Munters, to reduce the air conditioning loads, equipment sizes and number of rooftop units on each store. The store also recovers heat from its 22-foot-high ceilings with space heaters that supplement 55,000-BTU modulating condensing boilers to warm up the frozen food and dairy aisles for customer and employee air comfort.
Pete's other green measures include Air Pear fan systems by Airius LLC; refrigeration rack and HVAC refrigerant management with UltraSite Control System by Emerson Climate Technologies; cold cathode lighting; shade trees for asphalt coverage; hot water reclaim; sensor light controls; and recycled building materials.
Now with several stores with energy-saving equipment, Pete's plans to combine many of those technologies in its 10th store, which is scheduled for late 2013 completion.