Wal-Mart Canada opens demonstration store to test geothermal, daylight harvesting technologies

August 11, 2010

Wal-Mart Canada officially opened its first environmental demonstration store in Burlington, Ontario. The store features a first-of-its-kind application of geothermal technology in a large-scale Canadian retail operation and energy-conserving lighting innovations, among many other sustainable features. 

This year, Wal-Mart Canada will begin to roll out prototypical stores that are 30% more energy efficient. The new Burlington supercenter is expected to use an estimated 60% less energy than the company’s typical supercenter store and to reduce carbon emissions by an estimated 141 tons. It is also expected to divert an estimated 85% of its waste from landfill through a variety of recycling programs. 

“We’re determined to build the greenest stores on the block, and our Burlington store puts us one step closer,” said David Cheesewright, Wal-Mart Canada’s president and CEO. “We remain committed to being green, not only for the good of the environment, but for the long-term sustainability of our business. There’s a tremendous opportunity to reduce our construction and operating costs and to pass those savings on to our customers, who are looking for lower prices now more than ever.”

“Wal-Mart continues to show its commitment to energy efficiency, renewable energy, and environmental sustainability,” said Peter Love, Ontario's Chief Energy Conservation Officer. “Demonstration stores like this one prove that conservation and comfort can be brought together for the benefit of shoppers and employees.”

Energy Efficiency
The environmental demonstration store includes the following energy efficient operations and features:
• First-of-its-kind demonstration of geothermal heating and cooling technology in a large-scale Canadian retail operation – facilitated by 15 km of piping buried under parking lot
• Daylight harvesting system using skylights to refract daylight throughout the store; light sensors monitor the amount of natural light available and rise, dim or turn off lighting as needed
• Store is powered 100% by renewable power sources like wind and low-impact water power through Bullfrog Power
• In-floor radiant heating and cooling system circulates water to transfer heat and cold instead of air vents, requiring less electricity
• Environmentally preferable CO2 refrigeration system
• Heat from refrigeration system captured and reused to heat store
• Energy-saving motion-activated LED lights in refrigerator and freezer cases reduces energy use
• Low-wattage parking lot lights as well as LED external signs reduce energy use
• White roof membrane deflects sunlight by an estimated 85 per cent to reduce heat gain in summer and demand on the electrical grid
• Increased insulation on the roof reduces heat and cooling loss










Other Sustainable Features
• Low-flow sinks, toilets and urinals
• Concrete floors, instead of carpet or tile, reduce excess materials and the need for harsh chemical cleaning products
• Close proximity to the Burlington GO train station and municipal bus system allows for easy access to store by public transit


Construction
Environmental sustainability was also an important part of the construction phase. Up to 75% of the store’s construction waste was diverted from landfill and the entire construction phase was powered by renewable power sources through Bullfrog Power. The store was also built using recycled, locally-sourced and low- or zero-VOC materials.

Waste Diversion
The Burlington environmental demonstration store has multiple waste diversion streams including paper, plastic and organics.  One innovative diversion program recycles the store’s polystyrene waste into fire-resistant insulation used for commercial building.  The store has a first-of-its-kind customer recycling centre including streams for plastic bags and CFL light bulbs.

Environmentally Preferable Products
The store offers customers hundreds of environmentally preferable products ranging from organic produce, dry groceries and dairy to environmentally preferable cleaning products and paper products.

Wal-Mart Canada has three long-term environmental sustainability goals: 1. To be 100% supplied by renewable energy; 2. To produce zero waste; 3. To provide environmentally friendly products to customers.

         
 

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