Best Practices In Sustainability: Wal-Mart Opens Its First Experimental Supercenter

Nov. 9, 2005

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Wal-Mart has opened a new supercenter in McKinney, TX, which will also serve as an “experimental store.” Not only will the new supercenter provide quality products, it could transform the way the retail industry designs, constructs, and manages facilities.

“We see it as a next step in evaluating the impact we leave on the environment as we look toward smart growth and sustainability in the building of our new stores,” said Mike Duke, executive vice president and chief executive officer of Wal-Mart Stores - USA. “This store will contain many of the best resource conservation and sustainable design technologies currently available to minimize the use of energy and natural resources.”

The McKinney store will experiment with materials, technology, and processes, which include:

  • Reducing the amount of energy and natural resources required to operate and maintain the stores.
  • Reducing the amount of raw materials needed to construct the facility.
  • Substituting, when appropriate, renewable materials used to construct and maintain the facility.

“We want to make the best use of renewable and alternate sources, like wind and solar energy, to generate electricity to supplement the power needs of the store,” explains Don Moseley, Wal-Mart’s experimental projects manager. “The store at McKinney will draw its energy first from on-site resources and systems, and then from conventional utility sources as a secondary service. For example, the waste cooking oil, which had been used to fry chicken, will be recycled by mixing it with used automotive oil from the Tire and Lube Express to serve as fuel to heat the building.”

Wal-Mart has contracted with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN, to provide testing and analysis on store systems and materials, based on national scientific measurements and standards, for a period of 3 years.

Sharing the results of the store’s experiments with the rest of the retail and development industry could turn low-volume, uncommon technologies into industry standards. Wal-Mart hopes to learn new environmental conservation management practices and benchmarks that will serve as future design standards in the retail industry when it comes to land development and building construction.

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