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Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. was one of 10 organizations -- and the only supermarket -- recently honored as a “Northeast Business Leader for Energy Efficiency” by Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP).
The Business Leaders Recognition program was presented as part of NEEP’s 2009 Northeast Energy Efficiency Summit, a two-day conference, workshop and exhibition event held in late May in Albany, N.Y. Nominated by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), Wegmans was recognized for its commitment to achieving energy savings through cost-effective energy efficiency investments; addressing comprehensive changes in major energy systems; improving energy performance through operational practices and management level support; and demonstrating leadership to advance energy efficiency.
The Rochester, N.Y.-based grocer sustainability efforts have led it into a partnership with the NYSERDA, as a result of which Wegmans has implemented extensive efficiency improvements throughout its locations. Through NYSERDA’s New York Energy $martsm Program, Wegmans has undertaken a comprehensive retrofit of all lighting systems, providing more light to stores at half the previous cost; installed high-efficiency HVAC systems; installed interval meters on equipment to control energy use. As a result of such improvements, the company has achieved annual cost savings of over $1.4 million.
Further, under the same NYSERDA program, Wegmans has teamed with several manufacturers, including Philips, Feit, and Litetronics, to offer competitively priced CFLs for consumers and training for employees. In 2007, Wegmans sold $1 million worth of CFLs. In 2009, the company introduced its own Wegmans brand CFL, making it the first major New York grocer to do so. These efforts have accounted for over 9.9 million kWhs in annual savings, and more than 69 million kWhs in lifetime savings.
“Wegmans is a noteworthy example of the best practices in energy efficiency that can help businesses improve the bottom line, contribute to economic growth and reduce environmental impact,” noted Sue Coakley, executive director of Lexington, Mass.-based NEEP.
“Wegmans has been a great partner of NYSERDA’s in educating consumers about the importance of energy efficiency and purchasing energy-efficient products,” added NYSERDA president and CEO Francis J. Murray Jr. “Through these types of efforts, meeting Gov. David A. Paterson’s goal of reducing electric consumption 15 percent by 2015 will be achieved, and New Yorkers will enjoy a cleaner, healthier environment.”
In other Wegmans sustainability news, the grocer has become the first supermarket chain to endorse the “Take Marlin Off the Menu Campaign” and refuse to sell marlin, sailfish and spearfish at its 72 stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia and Maryland.
The campaign was launched eight months ago by three marine conservation nonprofit organizations: the International Game Fish Association, the National Coalition for Marine Conservation and The Billfish Foundation. The ultimate goal of Take Marlin Off the Menu is, through education and political advocacy, to end the commercial harvest, sale and importation of marlin, sailfish and spearfish in the United States.
In 2008, Wegmans published its Sustainable Seafood Sourcing Philosophy, a policy that is promoted at all Wegmans stores and on its Web site. The company also posts a chart of items sold in its stores that are certified sustainable and those it doesn’t carry because of sustainability concerns.