Retailers Sam’s Club and parent company Walmart (NYSE:WMT), are adding wind energy to help power two stores in the United States.
17 micro-wind turbines were recently installed at the Sam’s Club store in sunny Palmdale, California. The Skystream turbines, from Massachusetts-based DeerPath Energy Inc., are expected to generate about 76,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of energy annually or up to 5 percent of the store’s energy needs.
Taking advantage of the windy location, the turbines sit atop the 48-foot-tall streetlamps located in the store’s parking lot.
According to the company press release, the installation marks the first time a U.S. retailer has installed a major number of small wind turbines on parking lot light poles to help support the energy needs of the store.
This is not the first green effort by Sam’s Club. In 2008, nine stores in California were converted to include Home Efficient Centers, showcasing energy efficient products for homes and businesses.
The green products, such as outdoor solar lighting, high-efficiency toilets, water-saving showerheads, CFL bulbs and LED lighting, proved so successful, they were rolled out to all nationwide Sam’s Club stores last year.
Sam’s Club, serving more than 47 million members, is the ninth largest retailer in the U.S.
Similar micro-wind turbines will also be installed at a new Walmart store in Worcester, Massachusetts. Completion of this project is expected in early May. Other store locations are also being considered as well. Besides lowering operational costs which are then passed down to customers, wind turbines do not create pollution or greenhouse gas emissions.
The wind turbines are part of the company’s commitment to be completely powered by renewable energy. 28 solar systems and several fuel cell installations are located at various Sam’s and Walmart locations in California.
Other green goals by the retail giant include creating zero waste and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In 2006, the superstore’s goal was to sell 100 million compact fluorescent bulbs in just 12 months. Despite costing more than traditional incandescent bulbs, Walmart sold 137 million CFLs in just one year.
In 2009, the store announced an initiative to track the life cycle of the products it sold. The project measured water use, greenhouse gas emissions, and fair labor practices.
An electronic recycling and trade-in program, more organic food and apparel choices, and a goal to reduce packaging by 5 percent globally by 2013 are also part of the company’s sustainable efforts
Touted as the world’s greenest retailer, Walmart employs over 2 million employees worldwide. Earlier this year, the retail giant was named one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies of 2010 by Fast Company Magazine.
Photo courtesy of Sam's Club.
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