Whole Foods Becomes Role Model in Energy Efficiency

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Our Thursday green news brings you the latest on green architecture, climate change, energy and communities:

green stores, sustainable business

Photo courtesy of Paul Swansen via Flickr

  • Whole Foods becomes role model in energy efficiency: The recently opened Whole Foods market in Brooklyn could be a role model for businesses in incorporating energy efficiency and on-site clean, renewable energy to lower their carbon footprint. This 56,000-square-foot building is 60 percent more energy efficient than is currently required by building codes, making it one of the most energy efficient supermarkets in the U.S. The building is designed with several highly efficient technologies such as combined heat-and-power system that efficiently produces electricity and recycles heating and cooling. The facility also uses highly efficient and environmentally clean refrigeration equipment, efficient lighting and daylight to illuminate the store. On top of it, the building is complemented with solar canopies over the parking lot that will supply about 20 percent of the store’s electricity.
  • Newly found chemical compounds pose danger to health: Latest research at Oregon State University recently published in the journal Environmental Science discovered new chemical compounds that are hundreds of times more mutagenic than known carcinogens. According to Staci Simonich, a OSU professor of chemistry and toxicology: “Some of the compounds that we’ve discovered are far more mutagenic than we previously understood, and may exist in the environment as a result of heavy air pollution from vehicles or some types of food preparation such as meat grilling over a flame. We don’t know at this point what levels may be present, and will explore that in continued research.”
  • Clean energy from cow gas: Scientists at Argentina’s National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA) found a way to transform the gas created by cow’s digestive system into fuel. According to INTA, gases emitted from cows account for 30 percent of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions. For example, one cow produces about 250 to 300 liters of pure methane a day, which is enough energy to keep a refrigerator running for 24 hours. Although the technology is still in its experimental phase it could significantly reduce Argentina’s greenhouse gas production, plus provide for a natural gas alternative.
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