Safeway store becomes solar-powered

A broad renewable energy initiative pushes a California grocer into adding solar panels on its roof, among other things.


Safeway Inc. last week opened a Safeway Lifestyle store in Dublin, Calif., with rooftop solar panels providing power. This store is one part of the company's environmental project to power 23 California stores with renewable solar energy, as part of a broader renewable energy initiative.

The unit at the Dublin retail store generates electricity to power the 55,000 sq.-ft. facility. This unit removes 487,000 lbs. of carbon dioxide from the air, the equivalent of removing 50 passenger cars from the road annually, or planting 184 acres of pine trees, Safeway said.

"Safeway is taking its green power initiative to the next level as we identify additional California store locations for its solar stores program," said Joe Pettus, Safeway senior vice president of fuel and energy. "The investment in renewable energy, both solar and wind makes sense for both the environment and our company."

In 2005 the company transitioned all of its 295 U.S. fuel stations to 100% renewable wind energy. Safeway is the largest retail purchaser of green wind energy in California and one of the top 25 Fortune 500 companies purchasing green energy nationwide, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The 87,000 mW annual purchase of wind energy is enough to power its fuel stations; the Safeway headquarters campuses in Pleasanton, Calif., and Walnut Creek, Calif.; and all of its San Francisco and Boulder, Colo., stores.

Safeway chose state-of-the-art refrigeration system technology that is reducing electricity demand at new stores, and has installed no-heat freezer case doors that reduce electric heating. Safeway's Lifestyle stores use LEDs for their exterior lights and signage, requiring 90% less energy to operate than traditional neon lights and signs.

Beyond saving power the company recycles annually nearly 500,000 tons of plastic, corrugated cardboard, compostable materials, metal, and wood. In 2006, Safeway joined the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), the world's first and North America's only voluntary, legally binding greenhouse gas emissions reduction registry and trading program. CCX membership commits Safeway to reduce its carbon footprint from the base year 2000 by 390,000 tons of carbon dioxide. The company also joined the California Climate Action Registry, California's only official registry for greenhouse gas emissions reduction projects.

For more information about Safeway's renewable energy initiatives, click here .

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