Sustainable features of the first green Wal-Mart

July 27, 2005 |


Recovered cooking/engine oil bio-fuel boiler:

Cooking oil from the deli and waste engine oil from the tire and lube express are burned in a bio-fuel boiler to generate heat that's directed into the HVAC and radiant floor heating systems. Reduces the supercenter's dependence on natural gas by more than 30,000 therms.

Captured waste heat from refrigeration: Traditional refrigerators expel heat into the atmosphere through air-cooled condensers. Heat generated by the Wal-Mart's refrigeration system is captured and redirected to heat the water in restroom sinks and also to heat the water in the radiant floor heating system.

Building integrated photovoltaics; roof-mounted polycrystalline, roof-mounted clerestory amorphous flat-roof mounted thin film and  flat roof-mounted thin film:

Photovoltanic, roof-mounted laminates in the tire and lube expresss, garden center canopy, facades, and entry vestibules of the store allow natural light to heat and light the interior. The photovoltaics are expected to save a combined 50,447 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year.

Waterless Urinals:

The men's restrooms do not require water and save one gallon of water in each use.

Fly ash in building concrete:

Fly ash, an inorganic byproduct of the coal industry, relpaces traditional materials such as lime, cement and crushed stone, which require energy to produce. A ton of fly ash roughly saves the equivalent of one barrel of oil (energy). Approximately 800 tons of fly ash were used in this building's slab and foundation system.

Reduced volatile organic compounds:

Standard building materials like paint, adhesives, flooring, and even furniture off-gas toxins called Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) have been linked to a wide variety of illnesses. Wal-Mart used low or no VOC materials in the construction of this supercenter.

Reduced building height:

The building is 12 inches lower than a typical Wal-Mart supercenter. The height reduces heating and cooling need and should lower energy usage.

Reduced tenant space:

The external building height of the vision center, customer service area, bank, food service and restrooms is significantly lower than a typical Wal-Mart. The height reduces heating and cooling need and should lower energy usage.

Natural daylight and dimming controls:

Skylights and clerestories allow daylight directly into the store. Light sensors monitor the level of natural light available and dim or turn off the lights, when sufficient daylight is available. The lighting cost savings are projected to approach  300,000 kilowatt-hours a year. Reducing the electric lighting load also reduces heating costs.

Reflective coating on building:

The west face of the building has been coated with reflective ceramic paint to reduce heat gain inside the building. Energy is saved during the summer because the heat gain typically experienced by the west side of the building is reflected. The building requires less mechanical cooling.

Construction waste recycling:

Much of the construction materials and waste used during the building process was recycled rather than sent to a local landfill.

Alternative freezer/cooler refrigeration:

The refrigeration units have been redesigned from air-cooled, ground-mounted units to distributed water-cooled, roof-mounted units with cooling towers. By relocating them to the roof, copper piping and refrigerant leads were reduced by %40. In combination with the added glass doors at the display cases, an estimated 645,000 kilowatt-hours annually.

Radiant floor heating:

Radiant floors conduct heat through themselves using hot water, which is pumped through a series of tubes in the concrete floor. Heat "radiates" from the floor. This allows the thermostat to be set a lower temperature than a typical forced-air heating system.

Air distribution system:

The building utilizes displacement ventilation. The fabric ducts (Ductsox) have many holes that distribute an even airflow throughout the length of the duct. This system is estimated to save about 600,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year.

Passive cooling:

The garden center shade structure is oriented to take advantage of natural breezes on site. A cupola with thermostatically-controlled louvers and fans was added. Hotter and cooler air are drawn in according to the thermostat.

Reduced nighttime lighting:

At night, the artificial light levels in the supercenter are lowered to help customers' eyes adjust to the change of light and reduce energy consumption.

Main store area lighting:

The store uses more optically-efficient T5HO lamps, which produce as much light as two T8 lights (used in normal Wal-Marts). The color temperature contains more blue light than is traditionally used in retail stores, improving the ability to see colors.

Recycled food waste:

Food waste from the produce, deli, meat, and dairy departments is typicall  hauled to a landfill. In the experimental stores it is separated from other garbage and hauled to a local commercial composting facility where it is processed. The compost is available for purchase in the garden center.

LED lights in grocery cases:

LED lighting is used in grocery cases in place of fluorescent fixtures. LED lights have a longer lifespan, produce less heat and use sigificantly less energy than typical grocery store lighting. Utilizing 5000K LED lighting, the true colors of products can be seen better in grocery cases.

Solar-powered infrared sinks: 

The store's restrooms have sinks that use a photovoltaic collector on top of the sink to generate the electricity the infrared sensor needs to operate. The system also uses less water than a standard sink.

Air conditioning condensation water:

Condensation from air conditioning systems is usually a discarded waste product. In this store, however, condensation from the refrigeration and air conditioning systems is collected and stored in the pond on the east side of the building and used to help irrigate the landscape.

Exterior lighting:

High-Performance Vertical Luminaire (HPV) lighting is used in the parking lot. The HPV system has a dark sky-friendly full cutoff optical system with a flat glass lens. The full cutoff system elminates any light pollution while still providing superior levels of light to regular, 1000 watt systems.

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