Walmart Rolls Back Prices and Energy Use
An Ohio Walmart has gone green after becoming the first of the chain retail stores to switch to entirely LED-lighting. Located outside Cleveland, The South Euclid Walmart has replaced all light bulbs with LED lights to reduce energy consumption and serve as a model for future energy-efficient stores. This marks the first major step for the grocery giant, as they start implementing new green technology in an effort to become more eco-friendly.
The 181,000 square-foot facility is now using the bulbs in every lit aspect of the store. That means not only are the ceiling lights using the energy-efficient technology, but parking lights, signage, jewelry displays, and even lights throughout the refrigeration and delicatessen cases have been switched to LEDs. The new LED lights are 80 percent more efficient than the fluorescent lights typically found in retailers, and are estimated to save the store 59,000 kilowatts (KWh) per year. Steven Briggs of GE Lighting predicts the switch will reduce the store’s energy costs by about 15 percent.
Not only has Walmart adopted the technology, they have made it easier for consumers to do so as well. Walmart recently announced its own line of Great Value LED bulbs, starting at $10 per bulb. Although, $10 seems like a lot of money for a light bulb, other LED bulbs can cost well over $50. Even if the initial cost is pricier though, the bulbs can last more than 20 years and can save an average household about $130 per year.
Besides the LED switch, the South Euclid Walmart has taken other measures to be more energy-efficient. It installed a white membrane roof to reflect sunlight, which doesn’t absorb as much heat as a darker-colored roof. This location has also put in hundreds of skylights that allow overhead lights to dim and/or turn off during the day to reduce energy consumed by lighting the sales floor by up to 25 percent.
In addition, the location now has doors on refrigeration cases normally left open, such as deli meats, cheeses and yogurts. Walmart predicts the doors alone could reduce refrigeration load by up to 20 percent. The store started using heat reclamation technology to capture waste heat from the on-site refrigeration to supply hot water needs, and redirect some heat into the facility itself. The heat capture is estimated to provide about 60 percent of the hot water needed for the store.
With over 11,000 Walmart stores in 27 countries, the retailer has the ability to cut hundreds of millions of KWh use worldwide. This not only can benefit the company, but it can help the environment, and set a precedent as to how large retailers can become more energy efficient. Walmart has already said it will use the Ohio store as an example of how it can implement the technology in current and future stores. Lisa Stanley, Vice President of product management for the Green Building Council, who helped work on the South Euclid facility said, “[For] your first location, there’s a lot more to learn and do. But once you discover how it works best for your organization, you’re able to replicate it.” Walmart currently has goals to reduce KW-hours per square foot energy intensity needed for its buildings by 20 percent by 2020.
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