Wal-Mart Goes Green with Two Sustainable Stores

By Staff December 1, 2005

Simultaneously in Atlanta and Denver, proponents of taking sustainability to a mass level hyped events at two stores run by retail giant Wal-Mart.

In the Denver suburb of Aurora, the chain launched its second experimental store Nov. 8. The store was designed by Arup and built by Turner Construction, and both companies prominently displayed and discussed the project and its predecessor in McKinney, Texas, at their booths at Greenbuild.

CSE filmed a roundtable discussion with several key members of the project at the McKinney store’s debut earlier this year. In that panel discussion a number of technologies were addressed, ranging from the use of building-integrated solar technology to the reuse of waste cooking oil for radiant heating in select areas.

According to Arup’s Alisdair McGregor, the most exciting thing about the project is the potential impact it may have on the building community. “In the traditional CII green building process, we’re really only doing something one building at a time, and frankly that’s pretty slow. Here we have a chance to influence a huge number of buildings and also a huge number of people with all the education efforts that are happening through the stores themselves,” said McGregor.

Wal-Mart, for the record, choose not to follow the LEED path, principally in order to be able to experiment with various technologies that will help the chain implement best practices in all their facilities. That said, the project is extremely noteworthy to green proponents because all the energy-saving technologies implemented in both stores will be monitored by Oak Ridge National Laboratories and the data will be made available, along with benchmark data from sister facilities, for public consumption.

For those interested in viewing the discussion, here