business news in context, analysis with attitude

MNB reported yesterday that “a new Cub Foods store opened in St. Paul, Minnesota, has been awarded EPA GreenChill Gold-Level Certification, which is given for outstanding use of environmentally-friendly refrigeration technology. In addition, the store is expected to earn LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) NC 2.2 Gold Certification, which would make it the first Minnesota store to achieve that recognition.”

Well, it was pointed out to us yesterday that the Cub store has some competition from a Minneapolis natural grocery co-op for the first Gold LEED certification in Minnesota.

According ton one MNB user, “Seward Co-op Grocery and Deli opened a new building two weeks ago. They took an old, long-closed grocery building and did wonderful things with it - white roof to avoid the heat-island effect, natural light, energy efficiency such that while they doubled the size of their old building in this new one, the energy draw remains the same as the old building.”

LEED, to be clear, stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. It “is a third-party certification program and nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. LEED gives building owners and operators the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their buildings’ performance. The idea behind LEED is to promote a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in the areas of human and environmental health.”

On Seward’s website, it says that “Seward Co-op is a candidate for a Gold-level LEED certification. In order to achieve this, we have considered many elements of the construction of the new store, from the materials we used to our energy dependency to the green space around the site.” Among the innovations employed by the company, according to the site:

• We have rejuvenated "brownfield" or dilapidated site.
• The site is designed to capture and retain at least 90% of storm water.
• We’ve added 25% more green space to the site than zoning requires.
• White roofing material has been installed to minimize heat-island effects.
• The building’s heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) and electric systems are designed to improve efficiency 17.5% above code requirements.
• The co-op purchased "green power certificates," allowing us to use renewable power, replacing 70% of the power drawn from the local grid.
• More than 95% of construction waste from the site was diverted from landfills.
• 20% of construction materials are made from recycled materials.
• 10% of construction materials are regional.
• We have initiated a "Green Cleaning" protocol, including the use of nontoxic cleaners such as anolyte and catholyte, to protect well-being of employees and customers.

KC's View:
Making the point that it isn’t just Walmart that is moving ahead on such issues while other people engage in endless debate. It also is big companies like Supervalu, as well as much smaller organizations, all looking for a bottom line differential advantage even as they work to do the right thing.