Wal-Mart Opens Second Eco-friendly Supercenter

BENTONVILLE, Ark. -- There's new life for an old airport runway and vegetable oil used to fry chicken, at Wal-Mart's new experimental store in Aurora, Colo., the second of the retailer's test concept.

More than 500 tons of Denver Stapleton Airport's runway, crushed up and recycled, was used in the store's foundation. To help heat the store, Wal-Mart will burn used vegetable oil from its deli and used motor oil from its Tire and Lube Express.

In addition to being better for the environment, the new supercenter will offer a full line of groceries, bakery goods, deli foods, meat and dairy products, fresh produce, a Tire Lube and Express, and a vision center. It will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"Wal-Mart wants to be a leader in corporate responsibility for the environment and our shareholders," said Pat Curran, e.v.p. of Wal-Mart Stores USA, in a statement. "We want to continue our efforts and education about environmental sustainability and how it applies to our business. We believe that being a good steward of the environment and operating an efficient and profitable business are not mutually exclusive."

Wal-Mart objectives in building and running the duo of experimental units (the first opened this past summer in McKinney, Texas) is to see how it can reduce the amount of energy and natural resources required to construct, operate and maintain such facilities.

Of the project, Wal-Mart's president and c.e.o., Lee Scott, said in a recent speech that Wal-Mart is committed to building a new prototype that will be 25-30 percent more efficient and produce 30 percent less greenhouse gas emissions than current stores, within the next four years. "This store in Aurora will test over 50 different experiments to help us evaluate some technologies that will help us achieve that goal," noted Don Moseley, director of experimental stores.

Some of the key experiments include solar and wind power, waste oil boilers, porous pavements, radiant floor heating that will help keep pedestrian areas clear of snow, and unique fabric duct air systems to heat and cool the building efficiently. There will also be a tall grass prairie on site and a place to welcome RV visitors as they stop off I-70.

Wal-Mart said it has contracted with the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) of Golden, Colo., to provide monitoring, testing, and analysis on store systems and materials, based on national scientific measurements and standards, for a period of three years. "We will share our lessons learned from this store with others in the industry so that we all can learn and the environment can benefit from these technologies becoming more mainstream," Moseley said.
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