Manufacturing Savvy

Do I Have To Root For Wal-Mart?

I might. Wal-Mart Canada announced that it will build the first sustainable refrigerated distribution center. Located in Balzac, Alberta it will feature fuel-cell-powered lift trucks, low-energy solid-state (LED) lighting, solar and wind energy, a white roof membrane, fuel-cell-powered lift trucks and more, according to Material Handling Management.

You have to admire how the company is pulling out all of the sustainability stops.

With an investment of $115 million, the 450,000-square foot facility will be about 60% more energy efficient than the company's traditional DCs, Wal-Mart says.

How many ways can this facility be environmentally correct?

Lighting -- The entire facility will be lit by LED lighting saving 1.4 million kilowatt-hours annually.

Solar Energy
- Will install 16 solar thermal panels on the side of the facility that will supply energy to heat the hot water in the facility

Wind Energy -- A 225-kilowatt wind turbine will be installed

Material Handling Systems -- See Material Handling Management

Refrigeration System - Will use ammonia instead of refrigerants with the waste heat from the refrigeration system heating the facility during the winter months

Doorways - Install high-efficiency doorways between temperature zones, insulated dock plates, upgraded dock seals and a white roof membrane that deflects an estimated 85% of sunlight to reduce heat gain and demand on the electrical grid

Floors -Contain fly asha byproduct of coal burning at electric utility plantsto reduce the use of cement and replace chemical-intensive tiling

And in case you think they haven't thought of everything the company will divert 50% of the waste produced during construction away from landfills while the construction process itself will be powered by renewable energy.

I think you have to root for this facility.

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