AUSTIN, Texas (April 30, 2014) – Whole Foods Market® joins President Obama’s Energy Department today to announce the company’s participation in the Better Buildings Challenge. As an official partner in the federal program, America’s leading natural and organic grocer is committing to aggressive energy efficiency improvements, including a 20 percent energy reduction by 2020 across almost 13 million square feet of retail space. Whole Foods Market is also committing to share energy reduction strategies and successes with the marketplace.
The Better Buildings Challenge is a program designed to increase the energy efficiency of commercial and industrial buildings through technical and financial assistance. The newly-opened Whole Foods Market in Brooklyn is a model for the types of energy efficiency innovations that may be applied to stores nationwide. Today, Department of Energy officials are touring the store and its pioneering energy-saving technologies.
“Whole Foods Market’s core values call us to advance environmental stewardship, so we jumped at the chance to work closely with the Department of Energy and participate in this challenge,” said Kathy Loftus, Whole Foods Market’s global leader of sustainable facilities. “We strive to be leaders in all aspects of green building, so any time we can learn from best practices and share our own is a win for our company and the health of our planet. In fact, we were a founding member of the DOE’s Better Building Alliance in 2007, so this new program will deepen that relationship.”
Built on a rehabilitated brownfield site, the 56,000-square-foot Whole Foods Market in Brooklyn boasts numerous energy efficient features. The store’s combined heat and power system captures CO2 exhaust and recycles it to serve as a non-toxic, Freon-free refrigeration and air conditioning unit, the only system of its kind in the country. Gotham Greens, a Brooklyn-based company dedicated to advancing urban agriculture through greenhouses and rooftop gardens, constructed a facility on the store’s roof to grow fresh produce. The greenhouse serves to cool the store in the summer and warm the store in the winter. The produce is also sold in the store below, reducing food miles to food footsteps.
“Whole Foods Market has committed to cut energy use by 20 percent across hundreds of stores in 40 states. By showcasing best strategies for saving money and energy across the nation, Whole Foods Market will help demonstrate what’s possible in the grocery industry,” said Dave Danielson, Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy. “We’re very pleased that they are a part of the Better Buildings Challenge.”
According to New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) the Brooklyn Whole Foods Market building operates approximately 60 percent more efficiently than an average grocery store in the United States, with total annual electric savings of 2,513,868 kilowatt hours and an estimated annual energy cost savings of more than $369,300.
The energy to operate the buildings in which we work, shop, study and live costs the U.S. about $200 billion annually, and about 30 percent of this energy is wasted. This problem was the impetus for President Obama launching the Better Buildings Challenge in 2011, to spur revolutionary change in energy use and achieve record-breaking energy bill savings. More than 170 organizations are partnering with the Department of Energy to achieve portfolio-wide energy savings and share successful strategies that maximize efficiency. Better Buildings Challenge partners are actively deploying energy efficiency strategies in more than 7,700 facilities to date. Of these, Better Buildings Challenge Partners have reduced energy intensity by a minimum of 20 percent in more than 1,300 facilities, while also reducing energy intensity by at least 10 percent in another 2,100 since their baseline years.
Find more information about Better Buildings Challenge Partners, including Whole Foods Market, and energy efficiency projects at www.energy.gov/betterbuildingschallenge.