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Whole Foods Market said yesterday it would ramp up its efforts to lower energy consumption company-wide by 25 percent per square foot by 2015. The Austin, Texas-based organic and natural foods retailer has additionally committed to wind energy, more on-site renewable energy, and far-reaching green building, advanced refrigeration and transportation practices, which it believes will lead to considerable emissions reductions.
“With this combination of strategies, we intend to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent per square foot by 2015,” said Kathy Loftus, Whole Foods Market global leader, sustainable engineering. “Saving energy costs less than buying it, so we are reducing our energy appetite from both traditional and renewable sources.”
The grocer is well on the way to achieving this goal, through a range of earth-friendly programs it has rolled out in recent years:
—Several of Whole Foods’ new energy-efficient stores have earned the Environmental Protection Agency’s GreenChill certification, which recognizes sustainable commercial refrigeration systems. As part of a Department of Energy partnership, the food retailer received the resources to design new stores and retrofit older ones. The initiative teams Whole Foods with National Renewable Energy Labs to create, test and validate design concepts with a goal of being net-zero energy commercial buildings
—2010 is the fourth year that Whole Foods will offset 100 percent of its North American electricity use with wind energy credits. This year, the grocer plans to buy over 810,000 mWh of renewable energy credits, adding clean energy to power grids
—The company has 15 locations that are supplementing traditional power with solar, and more are in development. The San Jose, Calif., store recently revealed that it would host a fuel cell, making it the first supermarket in California that will generate enough electricity on site to meet 90 percent of its needs. This store joins the Glastonbury, Conn., and Dedham, Mass., locations, which already boast on-site hydrogen fuel cells. More are planned for future stores, according to Whole Foods
—At the present time, the grocer has nearly 30 stores that are either LEED or Green Globes certified, registered or in development, and is tracking energy and emissions from energy usage, refrigerant gas leakage and fuel usage for its internal truck fleet, using a baseline year of 2008.