Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is a global corporation based in Bentonville, Arkansas, with 7,416 stores and Sam’s Club locations in 14 markets. The corporation employs more than 2 million associates and serves more than 100 million customers every week. It believes that being a profitable and efficient business goes hand-in-hand with being a good steward of the environment, and further believes that through sustainability, its business can grow and thrive while offering products that save customers money and protect our environment.
Sam Walton built Wal-Mart on the principles of respecting the individual, servicing the customer and striving for excellence. These principles led the company to increase efficiency and eliminate waste while helping customers stretch their budgets. In 2005, CEO Lee Scott announced in his “21st Century Leadership” speech that we would build upon the foundations laid by Sam Walton and work to become the most environmentally sustainable company possible. Wal-Mart would strive to:
• Be supplied 100 percent by renewable energy;
• Create zero waste; and
• Sell products that sustain our resources and the environment
These aspirational goals challenge challenged Wal-Mart to take a comprehensive approach to affect change within and beyond the four walls of the company. Wal-Mart believes that sustainability is making them a better business. Sustainability allows Wal-Mart to provide customers with quality products today without sacrificing the ability to provide those same products a year from now, or ten years from now. Wal-Mart has cut out waste from its operations and supply chain to save millions of dollars every year and Wal-Mart is working to reduce its impact on the environment.
To fulfill these goals, Wal-Mart created the Sustainable Buildings Network to help design and build more energy- and water-efficient stores and Clubs that reduce greenhouse gas emissions while maintaining the shopping experience for customers. Through a process of experimenting, piloting, then implementing new building technologies, Wal-Mart hopes to improve the new store prototype, retrofit existing stores and build more efficient stores and clubs.
Wal-Mart is significantly reducing the amount of water consumed in newly constructed stores and Clubs through innovative and practical solutions rooted in increasing efficiency. It is estimated that Wal-Mart's water conservation measures will reduce the overall water consumption in each newly-constructed store by 17 percent compared to the 2005 baseline Supercenter. This is expected to save approximately 530,000 gallons of water annually at each Supercenter and approximately 220,000 gallons annually at each Sam’s Club.
• In restrooms in newly constructed stores, the sinks use sensor-activated 1/2 gallon per minute high-efficiency faucets that regulate water flow and reduce water usage by 78 percent compared to mandated 1992 EPA Standards. Electronic sensors regulate a maximum 10 second run time per cycle. It is estimated that this technology allows users to adequately wash their hands using less than one pint of water. Water turbines built into each faucet generate the electricity needed to operate the sensors.
• Wal-Mart has also installed high-efficiency urinals that use only 1/8 of a gallon (one pint) of water per flush. This fixture yields 87 percent water savings per flush versus conventional 1.0 gallon per flush urinals. The restroom toilets use just 1.28 gallons of water per flush, yielding a 20 percent reduction in water usage over current mandated 1992 EPA Standards, which require 1.6 gallon per flush fixtures. Automatic flush valves on the toilets have water turbines similar to the low-flow faucets, which generate the power required to activate the flush mechanism. These turbines save energy and save material by eliminating the need for electrical conduits and wiring otherwise required to power automatic flush valve sensors.
In n the U.S., Wal-Mart's Buildings Network is striving to reduce energy consumption in stores and Clubs. Wal-Mart Stores already have several energy-efficient features that are standard in all new stores and Sam’s Clubs—and can even be found in some existing facilities, too.
• Wal-Mart employs a centralized Energy Management System (EMS) to monitor and control the heating, air conditioning, refrigeration and lighting systems for all stores and Sam’s Clubs from Wal-Mart’s corporate headquarters. The EMS enables Wal-Mart to constantly monitor and control energy usage, analyze refrigeration temperatures, observe HVAC and lighting performance, and adjust system levels from a central location 24 hours per day, seven days a week.
• While barely noticeable to customers and associates, Wal-Mart’s daylight harvesting system saves a substantial amount of energy. More than 95 percent of newly constructed Wal-Mart Supercenters and Sam’s Clubs include a daylight harvesting system that uses natural light from skylights to dim overhead lights as the sun lights the store. By using dimmable lamps and other harvesting features, Wal-Mart is able to reduce energy consumption by 15-20 percent compared to the older systems. Each daylight harvesting system saves an average of 800,000 kWh per year, which translates to enough energy to provide electric power for 73 single family homes for an entire year.
• Wal-Mart illuminates exterior building signage and many refrigerated food cases with light emitting diodes (LEDs). LED technology can provide a 52 percent more energy efficient operation than fluorescent illumination.
• Wal-Mart reclaims waste heat from on-site refrigeration equipment to supply 100 percent of the hot water needs for newly constructed Neighborhood Markets and 70 percent for Supercenters and Sam’s Clubs.