The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) today announced the completion of Whole Foods Market Third & 3rd in Brooklyn (214 3rd Street), which will employ 425, as a model of energy efficiency and commitment to protecting the environment. The 56,000-square-foot supermarket, the company’s flagship store in Brooklyn, is located in the Gowanus neighborhood and has been constructed following a significant brownfield clean-up by Whole Foods Market. Its grand opening was today.

Whole Foods Market worked with NYSERDA to ensure energy-efficient design and construction of the building and to support a NY-Sun solar energy system and a combined heat and power (CHP) system. NY-Sun is the governor’s initiative to significantly increase the amount of clean, renewable solar energy in the State. The CHP system ties to his call for increased distributed generation to strengthen the energy infrastructure and boost resiliency.

The jobs being created will range from cashiers to management positions, and many of the employees are being hired in partnership with the New York State Dept. of Labor and New York City Department of Small Business Services.

NYSERDA incentives total $720,000, resulting in the building being 60 percent more energy efficient than required by code, with total annual electric savings of 2,513,868 kilowatt hours and an estimated annual energy cost savings of more than $369,300. To recognize the high level of energy efficiency, Whole Foods Market is seeking a Leadership in Environment and Energy Design (LEED) Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. In 2009, Whole Foods Market’s location on the Upper West Side was the city’s first LEED certified grocery store, earning a Gold distinction.

“Through this public-private partnership, Whole Foods Markets has combined energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies to make its Gowanus store a model of energy-savings and environmental stewardship,” said John B. Rhodes, President and CEO, NYSERDA. “This project highlights how Governor Cuomo’s NY-Sun initiative, along with distributed generation and energy efficiency measures can stimulate the economy benefiting businesses, neighborhoods, and the environment.”

“This is an example of how a true partnership between government and the private sector can work to bring great jobs to New Yorkers,” said State Labor Commissioner Peter M. Rivera. “These jobs will help make the Gowanus neighborhood stronger and Whole Foods' use of NYSERDA's incentives helps the environment as a whole. I encourage all businesses to learn more about the great things state government, under Governor Cuomo's leadership, can do for them.”

“In partnering with NYSERDA and following our core value for practicing and advancing environmental stewardship, we’re proud to have designed one of America’s most forward thinking and sustainably built retail establishments,” said Tristam Coffin, LEED AP, Green Mission Team, Whole Foods Market. “Built with reclaimed materials, state of the art refrigeration and on-site generation technologies, this new store at Third & 3rd is estimated to be approximately 60% more energy efficient than your average grocery store.”

Whole Foods Market Third & 3rd features a 157 kilowatt (kW) CHP system that provides simultaneous heating and chilled water year-round through cogeneration of heat and electricity, and is designed to keep the store functioning in the event of a utility grid failure. The system captures the electricity production’s exhaust heat that would otherwise be discarded and uses it to operate an absorption chiller machine, thus providing free cooling. Captured waste heat is also used to provide free heating for occupied spaces and domestic hot water in lieu of burning natural gas in boilers. The store also has high efficiency, zero-ozone-depleting commercial refrigeration systems.

A raised 324 kW solar array covers much of the parking lot and will offset 380,400 kilowatt hours of electricity use from the grid, approximately 29 percent of the building’s electricity. Other renewable energy technologies include off-grid, self-generated light-emitting diode (LED) parking lot lighting and self-generating car charging stations via wind and solar power.  The charging stations complement Governor Cuomo’s Charge NY Program, which calls for establishment of 3,000 public and workplace charging stations by 2018 to promote the growth of electric vehicle ownership.

The building also includes an extensive storm water management plan and a large water reuse system, as well as a rooftop greenhouse that will grow and supply produce to the store and a landscaped public walking path along the Gowanus Canal and 4th Street Basin.  One element of the store is a first-of-its-kind, 20,000-square-foot, commercial-scale greenhouse, which sits atop the store and will be run by New York’s Gotham Greens. Whole Foods Market created more than 100 products exclusively for this store opening, including vendors as close as two blocks from the store.  The property was remediated under the DEC Brownfield Cleanup Program in 2010, prior to construction.

Whole Foods Market has a total of 5,000 employees at its 14 stores in New York State. Additional stores are planned for New York City’s Upper East Side, Harlem and Williamsburg neighborhoods, as well as a site in Albany. The company has been an active participant in Governor Cuomo’s Small Business Solution Centers program, which partnered with this store to promote local hiring of Brooklyn residents.

NYSERDA, a public benefit corporation, offers objective information and analysis, innovative programs, technical expertise, and funding to help New Yorkers increase energy efficiency, save money, use renewable energy, and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. NYSERDA professionals work to protect the environment and create clean-energy jobs. NYSERDA has been developing partnerships to advance innovative energy solutions in New York State since 1975. To learn more about NYSERDA’s programs and funding opportunities, visit or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram.