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Archive for Sunday, April 22, 2007

Grocery chains cut energy, save money

April 22, 2007

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— Grocery shoppers at the new Kroger store in this eastern Cincinnati suburb are bathed in sunlight from 75 skylights in rows overlooking the aisles.

It's the most noticeable among many features aimed at reducing energy use by the nation's largest traditional grocery store chain. The store also has compact fluorescent lights that require less electricity and last 10 times longer than traditional bulbs. Motion detectors help shut off lights when areas are vacated. The store recycles exhaust to heat water, uses more efficient plastic fans instead of metal ones and has concrete floors that can be cleaned with water instead of chemicals used for tile.

The grocery business is getting greener, led by new initiatives from chains such as Kroger Co., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Tesco PLC. They're part of a broad range of businesses, including giants such as General Electric Co., General Motors Corp. and Exxon Mobil Corp., reacting to increasing public concern about energy issues.

The trend is particularly noticeable among grocery stores, a regular stop for American shoppers.

Wal-Mart this year has opened what it calls "High-Efficiency Supercenter" stores in Kansas City, Mo., and Rockton, Ill., that use 20 percent less energy than typical grocery-selling supercenters by using innovations in heating, cooling, water, lighting and construction materials. The Bentonville, Ark.-based retailer's chief executive, Lee Scott, said in a February speech that it will work with suppliers to cut the use of fossil fuels, adding to company environmental goals that Scott has said let Wal-Mart "do well while doing good."

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