The money will go to 16 U.S. food banks for low-cost upgrades to lighting, refrigeration, heating and air conditioning, in an effort to help the non-profits save money on energy bills.
The foundation expects that the grants will help the food banks save more than $625,000 in energy costs each year, enough to buy 390,000 pounds of food. It expects the reduction in energy use to be more than 5.2 million kWh, enough to power more than 400 homes for a year, and the equivalent of avoiding more than 3,700 metric tons of carbon emissions.
“In addition to helping reduce operating costs, these improvements will make the Food Bank a more environmentally friendly organization —something that is very important to us.” said Lucy Cabrera, president and CEO of Food Bank For New York City.
The donation follows Walmart’s announcement in May of a $2 billion cash and in-kind commitment to food banks through the end of 2015. Walmart said this will include $250 million in grants to support hunger relief at the national, state and local levels, and the donation of more than 1.1 billion pounds of food from Walmart stores, distribution centers and Sam’s Club retail outlets.
“These grants underscore Walmart’s commitment to lead on both hunger relief and sustainability,” said Margaret McKenna, president of the Walmart Foundation.
In December energy secretary Steven Chu announced that two Walmart locations would be among 24 recipients of $21 million in stimulus money aimed at cutting energy use in commercial buildings. The project connects building owners and operators with private sector building experts and Department of Energy laboratory staff to design, construct, measure and test low-energy building plans.
In November Walmart opened a Canadian fresh food distribution center that will be an estimated 60 percent more energy-efficient than the company’s traditional refrigerated centers.
In 2009 Walmart announced that its superstore in Leavenworth, Kansas was the first retail store in the country to feature LED lighting in the parking lot.