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

November 16, 2005

Wal-Mart Launches Second Energy-Saving Store in Colorado


Photo of flat roof covered with bubble-shaped clear skylights that contain complex equipment inside. A sloping roof in the background has a large dark blue rectangle on it.

The new Wal-Mart store includes innovative skylights with sun-tracking mirrors. Solar panels are barely visible on the roof in the background.
Credit: Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has launched its second "experimental" store to evaluate energy-saving technologies and other environmentally beneficial enhancements. The new store, located in Aurora, Colorado, draws some of its power from a 50-kilowatt wind turbine, 134 kilowatts of solar power, and six 60-kilowatt gas-fired microturbines. The store also incorporates evaporative cooling with a low-flow displacement ventilation system. For heating, waste-oil boilers provide hot water for radiant floor heating, and a solar wall preheats ventilation air, reducing the store's use of natural gas for heating. The store's energy efficiency features include daylighting and a variety of energy-efficient electric lighting technologies. Wal-Mart launched its first experimental store in Texas in July; for the Colorado store, DOE's nearby National Renewable Energy Laboratory will provide monitoring, testing, and analysis for the next three years. See the Wal-Mart press release and Web site.

Wal-Mart has also been working with NatureWorks LLC over the past year to test its corn-based plastic packaging at Sam's Club and Wal-Mart Super Centers. According to NatureWorks, Wal-Mart will begin packaging fresh cut fruit, strawberries, Brussels sprouts, and herbs in the NatureWorks plastic this month, a move that will result in 100 million containers per year made with the biobased plastic. Wal-Mart estimates the change will save the equivalent of 800,000 gallons of gasoline and avoid the emission of 11 million pounds of greenhouse gases. According to NatureWorks, Wal-Mart will expand the program to other products in the near future. See the NatureWorks press release.

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