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Aldi’s ‘green’ store investment

BY Marianne Wilson

Aldi’s $5 billion investment in its growing U.S. bricks-and-mortar operations includes a commitment to sustainability.

In 2017, the deep-discount grocer announced it was investing $3.4 billion to open 900 stores by the end of 2022, giving it 2,500 locations nationwide. Prior to that, it committed $1.6 billion to remodel 1,300 of its U.S. stores by 2020.

As part of its $5 billion investment, Aldi has been increasing the environmentally friendly features in its stores, from using energy-saving LED lighting to phasing out high global warming potential refrigerants in its refrigeration compressors. It’s efforts have not gone unrecognized.

Aldi received the 2017 “Best of the Best” award from the Environmental Protection Agency’s GreenChill Partnership for its use of cutting-edge, environmentally sustainable refrigeration systems. The honor typically goes to just one store, but this year it acknowledged a record 34 platinum-certified Aldi stores. Platinum is the highest level awarded by GreenChill, and it requires each store to meet very stringent criteria. (Also noteworthy, all of Aldi’s warehouses’ main refrigeration systems use ammonia, a natural refrigerant with a global warming potential of zero.)

“Partnerships like the one we share with GreenChill are critically important, as they enable us to work toward our goal of sustainable business operations,” said Aaron Sumida, VP of Aldi, which operates nearly 1,700 U.S. stores in 35 states. “In switching to more environmentally friendly coolants, we strive to minimize the environmental impact of our refrigeration systems.”

Aldi is also working on reducing its impact on the environment through the use of sustainable energy. Last year, the grocer increased the number of stores with rooftop solar panels by more than 45% and will continue to grow its solar portfolio and use of green electricity.

In addition, its new warehouses are constructed with sunshades and special glass to insulate and reduce heat from the sun.

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