Wal-Mart to open stores that use less energy
By Nicole Maestri
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the world's largest retailer, said on Tuesday it will open four stores that use 25 percent less energy than its supercenters that were in operation in 2005.
The discount retailer also said the stores will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by cutting down on refrigeration costs. The first of these new energy-saving stores is set to open January 23 in Romeoville, Illinois.
"That store will incorporate the learnings from all of our previous experimental stores, and will operate at a level that's 25 percent more efficient than a traditional Wal-Mart supercenter," said Leslie Dach, Wal-Mart's executive vice president of corporate affairs and government relations, speaking at the National Retail Federation conference.
Wal-Mart has set a goal of one day using only renewable energy and creating zero waste.
It opened two stores in 2005 to experiment with ways to cut waste, looking at everything from recycling french fry oil to testing solar and wind power, hoping that successful technologies could be incorporated into other stores.
Wal-Mart has also challenged its suppliers to remove nonrenewable energy from their lives and, because of its status as the world's largest retailer, it is considered one of the few retailers with enough heft to make direct changes to global energy consumption.
The efforts, in addition to helping the environment, are also designed to help Wal-Mart's bottom line.
While Wal-Mart has asked its suppliers to cut down on the amount of packaging that they use, the retailer said it would save $3.4 billion by reducing packaging 5 percent in its stores by 2013.
"We're going to take waste out, cost out and make our business more efficient," Dach said.
Wal-Mart said on Tuesday that the newer energy-saving stores it will open include white roofs, low-flow bathroom faucets, LED lights and an advanced daylight harvesting system.
(Additional reporting by Karen Jacobs in Atlanta)