Schnuck Markets, Inc
Schnucks Goes Green So Customers Can Save Green
Grocer continues to make advancements in sustainability
ST. LOUIS – For Schnuck Markets, Inc., Earth Day (April 22) is a milestone in the quest to strengthen its environmental commitment to build more earth-friendly stores and facilities.
Last fall, the St. Louis-based grocer introduced a prototype store design in Newburgh, Ind. that showcased the latest advances in energy and water efficient technologies and building practices. As Schnucks moves forward with two new stores in the St. Louis area (Downtown and Des Peres), company officials hope to continue to build on what they have learned.
“Green design is good design. We must be good stewards for future generations,” said Schnucks Director of Facilities Engineering Ross Hutsel. “Everything we can do to help control our utility costs also helps us to continue to keep prices low for our customers – something very important especially during times of economic uncertainty.” Hutsel noted that Newburgh store is almost 50 percent larger than the one it replaced, yet the utility costs are the same.
According to Hutsel, the company’s latest sustainability and “green” initiatives focus on reducing energy and water use, reducing volume of landfill waste and increasing the use of recyclables and recycled materials. Building plans for all new stores include energy efficient lighting, water efficient plumbing fixtures and accessories and an energy management system to control lighting, air conditioning, heating and refrigeration. He added that a major focus has been in the area of refrigeration including energy efficient systems that use waste heat to support the store’s hot water requirements and refrigerated display cases with high efficiency components that further reduce energy consumption.
Hutsel says, once the new Des Peres store opens later this year, the company plans to apply for an Energy Star award – a federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program for which only the top 25 percent of energy-efficient buildings in the nation qualify. Some additional features of that store will include skylights to take advantage of daylight harvesting, self-compensating ventilation hoods to reduce the amount of conditioned air needed to balance the amount of air leaving the building and high-efficiency water heaters with a single hot water piping loop to meet the store’s hot water demand.
Schnucks Director of Facilities Maintenance John Behr says Schnucks is also updating older stores, facilities and warehouses. “We are retrofitting many of our exterior signs and frozen food door cases with new energy-efficient LED technology, and CFLs have replaced incandescent bulbs in our check stands, walk-in coolers and freezers,” Behr said. “At our grocery warehouse, we replaced metal halide lamps with fluorescent hi-bay fixtures with motion sensors. By doing so, we have reduced electricity use by 60 percent. We have also applied this technology to the backrooms of our stores.” Company-wide, Schnucks has reduced the overall kilowatt hours per square foot by more than seven percent since 2006.
Behr also says that the company is making a large investment by converting all stores that use R-22 refrigerant gas, to new environmentally friendly refrigerants. “In keeping with EPA guidelines, we are in the fourth year of a six-year plan to switch to new HFC refrigerants that have zero ozone depletion potential. Although this is a very expensive program, we are committed to helping protect our environment,” he said.
Schnucks Director of Consumer Affairs Joanie Taylor often shares information of the company’s progress with the public. “Our feedback indicates that a vast majority of our customers feel that recycling and sustainability issues are important.” Taylor said.
Inside the company, Taylor says, “Internal committees have been formed to pilot projects with potential for saving resources, time and expense. At Schnucks, we use the ‘Three P’s’ to define sustainability. True sustainability means finding a balance between what is good for People, the Planet and Profitability,” she said.
“One committee in particular, led by Cottleville Store Manager Steve Troup, publishes a monthly fact and tip sheet called Energy Buzz to communicate progress and offer new ideas for saving energy at work and at home.”
Founded in St. Louis in 1939, Schnuck Markets, Inc. operates 105 stores (including five Logli stores) and 101 pharmacies in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Tennessee and Mississippi.
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