This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

January 24, 2007

Wal-Mart Opens Energy-Efficient Supercenter in Kansas City

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. opened the first in a series of more efficient stores last week in Kansas City, Missouri. The new store will use 20 percent less energy than a typical Wal-Mart Supercenter. The store integrates "industry-leading" heating, cooling, and refrigeration systems to reduce energy use. The systems reclaim the heat rejected by the refrigeration system and put it to use in the heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system, which also relies on a water source heat pump for heating and cooling towers for cooling. Other energy-saving technologies in the new store include a top-of-the-line dehumidification system and quick-closing doors to seal air in areas such as the garden center.

Like many other Wal-Mart stores opening this month, the Kansas City Supercenter features General Electric's refrigerated case lighting using light-emitting diodes (LEDs). LEDs have a longer life span than fluorescent bulbs, produce less heat, and use significantly less energy than typical grocery case lighting. In the Kansas City store, motion sensors have been installed in all freezer and medium-temperature refrigerated cases. When not in use for a few seconds, the LED lights in these cases automatically turn off, quickly turning back on when a customer approaches. The store also employs ultra-efficient fans in refrigerated cases and includes glass doors on all medium-temperature grocery cases.

Daylighting is another key feature of the store, which uses skylights to refract daylight throughout the store and light sensors to monitor the amount of natural light available. During periods of higher natural daylight, the system saves energy by dimming or turning off the store lights. Wal-Mart's second efficient store will open in Rockton, Illinois, this spring. See the Wal-Mart press release.