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United Natural Foods Selects Hara for Energy Efficiency and GHG Reduction

United Natural Foods, the distributor of more than 60,000 organic, natural and fair trade products, has selected Hara’s Environmental and Energy Management (EEM) software to help with energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction strategies.

The platform will allow United to aggregate data, establish baselines and track reduction targets across a wide range of facilities, including warehouses, factories and officers. United will use also the software to track and prioritize cost-saving energy and environmental initiatives, such as waste diversion, renewable energy credits and use of on-site renewable energy.

United Natural Foods says it is the largest wholesale trader of organic foods in the country, and was one of the first distributors of such foods in the U.S. Its products are carried in supermarkets, natural foods stores, independent retail operators and food service operations.

The company’s environmental achievements include winning LEED certification on three distribution centers and headquarters, including the first LEED gold for a cold storage facility, and implementing hydrogen fuel cell technology for its material handling equipment in Sarasota, Fla. Adding 29 new fuel cell-powered lift trucks and retrofitting 26 existing lift trucks with hydrogen fuel cell technology is expected to save the company about 640,000 kWh a year, senior vice president of sustainable development Tom Dziki said last year.

The company also produces over 2.5 million kWh of renewable energy a year from three onsite solar panel arrays.

Last year United Natural Foods said that energy saving features at its Chesterfield, N.H., distribution center helped place that facility among the top 25 percent most efficient buildings in its category. The center uses motion-activated T8 fluorescent lighting in the main warehouse and motion-activated T-5 lighting in the repack and staging area.The 319,000 square foot facility also uses a paperless order processing system.

The building was awarded the EPA’s Energy Star designation, meaning the building uses at least 35 percent less energy than a comparable building.

Hara’s recent wins include deals with U.S. Bank and the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA). Last week Hara announced a partnership with Hewlett-Packard to offer a combined energy management and emissions reduction software package.

“Hara EEM will provide a management platform to support our continued achievements in these areas and facilitate key milestones in our energy and environmental strategies – from data aggregation to the adoption of best practices and policies to increase our energy efficiencies,” said Lisa Madsen, director of sustainability and philanthropy at United Natural Foods.

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