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Kroger Sustainability Report: Energy Use Down 27% since 2000

The Kroger Co. has reduced energy consumption in its stores by more than 27 percent since 2000, according to the company’s 2010 Sustainability Report (PDF). The grocery retailer says that is enough electricity to power every single family home in Memphis, Tenn., for one year.

Kroger has saved companywide more than 1.9 billion kilowatt hours, which equals 1.36 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. The grocery retail chain says this equates to taking more than 260,000 cars off roads for one year.

Kroger’s 2010 goal is to reduce energy use in its stories by 30 percent from a baseline year of 2000. The company also set targets to reduce waste to landfills in manufacturing facilities by 50 percent, cut water use in manufacturing facilities by 10 percent, and recycle more than 25 million pounds of plastic in 2010.

The grocery retailer also wants to sell 7 million reusable bags in 2010, recycle 25 million pounds of shrink wrap and plastic bags, and save 1 billion bags through better bagging techniques and higher use of reusable bags.

Kroger’s new stores consume 25 percent less energy than a store built in 2000 thanks to several energy-efficiency measures including replacing lighting with LED fixtures, which use 75 percent less energy. By the end of 2010, LED lighting will be installed in nearly every Kroger store.

The grocery retailer also is installing motion sensors, skylights and control systems to monitor and control energy use in the store’s refrigeration, HVAC and lighting systems.

Kroger also is adding renewable energy to supply its power needs. As an example, Kroger’s Turkey Hill Dairy in Lancaster, Pa., plans to add two wind turbines to supply nearly 25 percent of the dairy’s energy needs. In 2006, Turkey Hill began purchasing steam energy from a local landfill, which is produced as a by-product of its methane-to-electricity power generation system. This system is expected to reduce fuel oil consumption by more than 140,000 gallons annually.

Kroger also has reduced its normalized carbon footprint by more than 5 percent since 2006. The company’s total carbon footprint has remained flat, despite growth in square footage, tonnage and sales.

Kroger reports that nearly three-quarters of its carbon footprint is attributed to energy use and electricity the company purchases from utilities. The company’s scope 1 and scope 2 carbon footprint in 2009 was 6,336,019 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.

In 2009, Kroger’s transportation efficiency (cases shipped per gallon) also improved by 7 percent. The company’s goal is to improve fleet efficiency 25 percent by 2014.

To help meet its goal, Kroger purchased 125 new Freightliner Cascadia trucks that feature “near-zero-emission” Detroit Diesel engines this year.

Kroger saved more than 200 million plastic bags in 2009 through better bagging techniques and increased use of reusable bags. The company sold nearly 7 million reusable bags last year. According to Kroger, each of these bags has the potential to replace 1,000 plastic bags in its lifetime.

Kroger also recycled 22.6 million pounds of plastic through its Plastic Recycling Program at its stores and distribution centers in 2009, representing a 144 percent increase in plastic recycling since 2007. The company expects at least four manufacturing plants to achieve the goal of sending zero waste to landfills.

The company’s first store achieved the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification in 2009. The store has set a goal to recycle at least 70 percent of the store’s total waste, including paper, glass, plastic, cardboard and metal.