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Cleantech
Walmart Announces New Commitments To Increase Energy Efficiency and Renewables

Walmart has released a new set of commitments aimed at increasing energy efficiency and achieving its goal of being supplied 100 percent by renewable energy by 2020.

Walmart has released a new set of commitments aimed at increasing energy efficiency and achieving its goal of being supplied 100 percent by renewable energy by 2020.

The retail company will begin producing or procuring some 7 billion kWh of renewable energy each year, a 600 percent increase over 2010 levels. Walmart also plans to reduce the energy intensity of its buildings by 20 percent worldwide.

Walmart says the commitments represent a six-fold increase in renewable energy projects and will generate more than $1 billion annually in energy savings once fully implemented.

Walmart hopes to avoid some 9 million metric tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the equivalent of taking 1.5 million cars off the road. The company says this will effectively halt the growth of GHG emissions from its largest GHG source — energy used to power buildings — by 2020. For the first time, the company is projecting this GHG decrease even with significant anticipated growth in stores and sales.

With the rising cost of energy, Walmart says finding cleaner and more affordable energy is important to its low-cost business model.

“The math adds up pretty quickly — when we use less energy that's less energy we have to buy, and that means less waste and more savings,” said Walmart President and CEO Mike Duke. “These new commitments will make us a stronger business, and they're great for our communities and the environment.”

In the U.S. alone, Walmart hopes to install solar power on at least 1,000 rooftops and facilities by 2020, a significant increase from just over 200 solar projects in operation or currently under development. The company says it also will continue to develop projects in wind, fuel cells and other technologies in addition to procuring offsite renewable energy from utility-scale projects, such as large wind projects, micro-hydro projects and geothermal.

In order to meet its energy efficiency goal, Walmart plans to increase LED usage in sales floor lighting, parking lots and other applications. The retailers also will focus on market-relevant scalable technologies such as high-efficiency HVAC and refrigeration systems and sophisticated energy and building control systems.

In 2005, Walmart established a set of 2020 sustainability goals, which include being supplied 100 percent by renewable energy, creating zero waste and selling products that sustain people and the environment.

Late last year, Walmart was included in a survey that found 62 percent of consumers would be more willing to buy products from brands using renewable energy such as wind energy. Additionally, 74 percent said they would have a more positive perception of a brand if wind energy were the primary energy source used in its production.

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