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7-Eleven Japan to Open 100 Eco-Stores This Month

Convenience chain 7-Eleven plans to open 100 “eco-friendly” stores in Japan by the end of February.

The stores will follow the prototype set by the outlet across from the Shusse Inari shrine in Kyoto, the New York Times reports. The prototype is equipped with light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and roof-mounted photovoltaic panels.

The LEDs cut lighting-related energy use in half, while the solar panels generate up to a third of the store’s electricity, the Times said. The store’s floor reflects light, and sensors help to automatically adjust the lighting.

7-Eleven’s plans for this year also call for converting another 100 existing outlets, which are to be powered by solar energy and outfitted with charging stations for electric vehicles.

Regional field operations manager Kozo Maeoka said the company eventually aims to make such changes to all its Japanese stores.

The Times notes that at this rate, it would take more than 50 years to make changes to all 12,000 7-Elevens in Japan. Stores like that in Kyoto cost up to 30 percent more to build than traditional 7-Elevens, and a government subsidy covered less than ten percent of the additional cost. But the company said that economies of scale will help it speed up conversions.

The company has opened similar prototypes in Taiwan, but the Times said efforts at the 5,000 Taiwanese stores are more scattered than in Japan. 7-Eleven’s first “green” U.S. store opened in DeLand, Florida last year.

In 2009 7-Eleven opened a “green” food preparation and distribution center on Long Island.  The facility qualified for gas efficiency rebates, and rate incentives from National Grid, the local utility.

Because the site lacked access to a municipal sanitary sewer system, 7-Eleven invested in a gas-energy mixing system to treat the site’s water before discharging it.

Picture credit: Stéfan

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