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Hannaford Supermarkets will announce today that it plans to build a new supermarket in Augusta, Maine, that is designed to qualify for “platinum certification” from the US Green Building Council (USGBC) and its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system.

According to the company, Hannaford “is committing to designing environmentally responsible features and systems into the building. In order to receive the LEED certification, the store will incorporate a variety of energy saving and environmentally sustainable features.

“Examples include solar photovoltaic panels, a green roof, geothermal heating and cooling, high efficiency refrigeration, energy efficient lighting, and an advanced recycling program, among others.”

Hannaford President/CEO Ronald Hodge says that the store will be a research laboratory for the company to test new innovations that decrease energy usage, waste, and water consumption, while improving air quality, stormwater management, and use of sustainable materials.

“The net effect of this project will be reduced greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption, and waste, as well as increased landscaping, and an improved indoor environment for both store associates and customers,” Hodge says. “Our green store will be a forum for learning and teaching about Green Building.” Hannaford plans to apply learned in the new store to future stores built by the company.

The proposed new 49,000 square foot store would replace Hannaford’s Willow Street store. If certified by USGBC, the new Hannaford store would be the first Platinum-certified LEED supermarket in the world.
KC's View:
: You start off trying to get customers to shift from throwaway plastic bags to reusable canvas bags, and before long you find yourself installing solar photovoltaic panels. Hard to believe, but it seems to be the way things are going these days.

This is, in my view, a good thing. Hannaford is to be commended for making the kind of investment necessary to make this store a reality. It isn’t just altruism – these are the kinds of investments that should pay off in the long run.

One necessary component that must be added, in my opinion, is consumer education, and I would hope that Hannaford will apply some of the lessons learned from its “Guiding Stars” nutrition education program to its environmental initiatives. Big, easy to read and understand graphics will actually give consumers a stake in making the store work…and might even influence shoppers to behave in a more environmentally responsible way.