Austin, Texas Whole Foods Market announced Tuesday a company-wide strengthened sustainability initiative that would reduce energy consumption 25% per sq. ft. by 2015.
The grocer also committed to wind energy, more on-site renewable energy, and aggressive green building, advanced refrigeration and transportation practices, designed to produce significant emissions reductions.
"With this combination of strategies, we intend to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 25% 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."
Several of Whole Foods’ new stores have been awarded the Environmental Protection Agency's GreenChill certification, recognizing eco-friendly commercial refrigeration systems. One early example of reduced energy is the Whole Foods in Santa Barbara, Calif., which the company said uses 45% less energy than a nearby store of comparable size.
As part of a Department of Energy partnership, Whole Foods was awarded resources to design new stores and retrofit older ones. The program pairs the grocer with National Renewable Energy Labs to create, test and validate design concepts that will move toward net-zero energy commercial buildings.
This is the fourth year that Whole Foods Market will offset 100% of its North American electricity use with wind energy credits. This year, the company will purchase more than 810,000 mWh of renewable energy credits, adding clean energy to power grids.
Whole Foods also has 15 locations supplementing traditional power with solar, with more in development. It has nearly 30 stores that are either LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) or Green Globes certified, registered or in development.
The latest store to announce LEED Gold is the Upper West Side store, in Manhattan.