There are many criticisms leveled at Walmart, one of the world’s largest retailers. However, Walmart is fast becoming a leader in corporate sustainability. The retailer’s latest announcement is one good example. Walmart recently announced that it will buy LED ceiling lighting fixtures for new supercenters in the U.S., stores in Asia and Latin America, and Asda locations in the U.K. This is the company’s largest purchase of LED lighting.
LED fixtures will use 40 percent less energy and help the company reach its goal to reduce the kilowatt hours (kWh) per square foot of energy required to power its buildings by 20 percent globally by 2020. The installation of the LED ceiling fixtures will begin at Asda, Walmart’s stores in the U.K. A total of 200 new Walmart stores will install the LED fixtures over the next two years.
Sales floor lighting accounts for about 90 percent of the total lighting usage in each building. Switching to LED fixtures will reduce energy use by more than 5 percent per store in the U.S. alone and will save an expected 340,000 kWh per store. That equals $34,000 in savings per year in each store — or removing 327,360 metric tons of carbon emissions from the atmosphere. The LED fixtures are expected to save a total of 620 million kWh over the next 10 years.
Walmart projects that the LED fixtures will result in 15 percent energy savings in 30 new U.S. stores. The expected savings for other regions include:
- Brazil: 30 store remodels; 41 percent energy savings
- Central America: 10 new stores; 54 to 59 percent energy savings
- China: 24 new stores, 16 store remodels; 42 percent energy savings
- Mexico: 37 new stores; 45 percent energy savings
- U.K.: 10 new stores; 45 to 51 percent energy savings
“We have worked to find and scale energy-efficient LED lighting solutions that are cost effective and high quality, and now working with GE, we’re paving the way to make this a mainstream solution for the retail industry,” said Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Walmart.
Buildings are the biggest part of the company’s carbon footprint, and energy is the biggest part of a building’s carbon output. For that reason, energy efficiency is a major focus for Walmart, which has already met goals to become more energy efficient. One of those goals is developing a store prototype that’s 25 to 30 percent more energy efficient, a goal it met in all of its global markets. Specific examples of Walmart’s energy efficient measures include:
- Installing an LED freezer case lighting system at McKinney, Texas stores which reduces energy use by 70 percent.
- Converting parking lot lighting at 350 stores in Central America to LED.
- Opening a Neighborhood Market in Wichita, Kan. and a store in Acapulco, Mexico with 100 percent LED sales floor lighting.
- Retrofitting six Walmart U.S. distribution centers with interior LED lighting, which reduces energy use by over 16 million kWh in 2012.
Walmart also is investing in renewable energy. The retailer has more than 180 renewable energy projects globally that provide enough energy to power 78,000 American homes a year. The goal is to be powered 100 percent by renewable energy. Of the 180 renewable energy projects, 150 are solar installations in seven countries. In California, 75 percet of the compay’s facilities use some form of renewable energy.
Image credit: Ron Dauphin