Monday, February 12, 2007

Safeway gets green recognition

Safeway - the grocery retail giant - is now among the top 25 companies and agencies lauded by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency for using renewable energy sources.

Safeway is California's largest corporate buyer of wind power, which it uses to power its corporate campuses in Pleasanton and Walnut Creek, CA, all of its 269 fuel stations in the country, and all of its supermarkets San Fransisco, CA and Boulder, CO.

Safeway also recently announced that it will be the first retailer to join the California Climate Action Registry, the official registry for global warming emission reduction projects. It has already joined the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), the only voluntary, legally binding greenhouse gas reduction registry and trading program in North America. Being a member of the CCX commits Safeway to reducing carbon dioxide emissions from the base year of 2000, by 390,000 tons.

The grocery chain is installing energy-efficient lighting and altering the design of new stores to be more energy efficient, using technology like no-heat freezer-case doors and replacing neon exterior lights with LEDs. The East Bay Times explained why:
"Electricity is the biggest expense in operating a grocery store, and refrigeration is the biggest user of electricity," said Teena Massingill, a Safeway spokeswoman. She added that the more subdued lighting common in the company's new and remodeled "lifestyle" stores reduces energy use and electricity bills, and is more pleasing to customers.
The renewable energy purchased by Safeway accounts for about 2% of the company's total energy, or 87 million Kwh, putting it at 21st in the rankings. The top green energy user, Wells Fargo, buys 550 million kWh of renewable energy. One of Safeway's competitors, Whole Foods, is ranked second at 463 million kWh, making it 100% powered by clean, renewable energy.

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