Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Weekly Green Report

New Whole Foods to Anchor Madison, Wisconsin 'Green' Shopping Center
By NSFM: Wednesday, September 12, 2007
At left is the new 'Green' Whole Foods Market being built in Madison, Wisconsin and scheduled to open in early 2009

The Hilldale Shopping Center and a new addition called "The Heights," currently under development in Madison, Wisconsin, will have a 65,000 square-foot Whole Foods Market as its retail anchor, according to the firm Joseph Freed & Associates of Chicago, the property's owner and master developer. Construction of the Whole Foods store began today.

The center is being built using the strict green building standards developed and certified by LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), the leading environmental building organization in the U.S.

The center's existing shopping center has been completely renovated and the developers are now beginning the second stage of the development ("The Heights" buildings) which includes an upscale 150 room boutique hotel, an 11-story, 112-unit condominium building with 43,000 square-feet of office space and tens of thousands of ground floor retail square-footage set to open in early 2009. The 65,000 square-foot Whole Foods store will be the anchor store for this ground floor retail space.

The new addition to the shopping center is being built using strict green/environmental building standards and methods according to Adam Fink, the project manager for the developer. "The Heights" promises to be the Madison areas first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) residential and retail building," Fink says. "We are using cutting-edge green technology that residents (and others) will notice in terms of energy savings."

The LEED program is considered to be the most stringent and "environmentally-sound" building standards program in the U.S. Read more about the LEED green building program and the organization's environmental building standards here.

The 65,000 square-foot Whole Foods is part of the "Heights" development and as such will be built to these same LEED green standards. The Whole Foods store should open in early to mid 2009 according to the developer. The supernatural grocer hasn't publicly announced the new store yet.

UK Retailer Marks & Spencer Building New "Eco-Stores"
By NSFM: Wednesday, September 12, 2007

British retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) will open the first of its new "eco-stores" in Scotland next month (October, 2007). The stores are a dramatic environmental step forward in retailing. M&S says the stores will use 25% less energy than conventional stores and will cut carbon dioxide emissions by 50%.

Marks & Spencer stores sell food and groceries as well as clothing, housewares and related upscale department store offerings. The chain is renowned for its upscale, high-quality prepared foods offerings.

Among the "eco-friendly" features of these new M&S stores include the use of rainwater and condensation harvesting equipment so that rain water and recycled municipal water can be used in flushing toilets and for other non-drinking water uses.

Store lighting, refrigeration equipment and ventilation systems will be of the highest energy-efficient category available to provide for maximum energy-efficiency. All the lumber used in the stores' construction has been accredited by the Forestry Stewardship Council, a UK body which promotes and certifies responsible and sustainable forest management.

The stores also will be powered in part by by renewable energy--using both wind powered turbines and solar panels. M&S also will by it's conventional energy for the stores from renewable energy producers to as close to 100% as is feasible, says Richard Gillies, director of store design, development and procurement for the chain.

The retailer is working on a plan to help local, small farmers develop waste-to-energy systems which would use animal waste as the energy source. M&S would guarantee to buy all of the renewable energy produced by these farmers for the new stores, says Gillies. 'That's something we want to develop so it can become a secondary income source for the farmers," he says.

The chain is experimenting with the use of naturally grown product packaging, which is biodegradable, to replace the use of cellophane in its prepared foods packaging and other store departments. All paper, cardboard, plastics and metals used in the store or received as merchandise will be recycled as well.

During the building of the "eco-stores" the construction workers have been required to follow a "green" travel plan which involved a care-sharing program for all the workers from their homes to the construction sites. Building materials suppliers also have been required to recycle at least 80% of the building material waste from the sites as part of their contracts.

Gillies says the new stores will be used to test environmental design principles and measures which if they work can be adopted in new M&S stores as well as in existing store remodels. The chain wants to eventually have all of their existing stores become "eco-stores." Gillies said these new stores are just the beginning and that M&S plans to learn from them, adapt and create even more "eco-friendly" stores down the road.

Marks & Spencer has set a corporate goal of becoming a carbon neutral retailer and the new "eco-stores" are a big part of achieving that goal.

Industry Green News

Safeway Store Goes Solar-Powered

Safeway Stores, Inc.'s Dublin, California store starts off today a much greener supermarket than it was yesterday. Beginning today the store will be powered primarily by a new acre-wide rooftop solar panel system which will provide the majority of the 55,000 square-foot store's electricity. The Dublin store also powers it gas station with wind power from turbines it recently installed for that purpose.

Safeway says the solar and wind-turbine units are part of a larger environmental initiative the retailer has launched, the goal of which is to reduce the retailer's carbon emissions dramatically as well as to conserve energy.

Other green, energy-saving programs launched by Safeway to meet this goal include new investments in store energy-efficient lighting, equipment and store heating and cooling systems. The chain also has launched a massive store-wide and corporate recycling program for paper, plastics, cardboard and other recyclable materials. Safeway says it recycles enough cardboard, paper and plastic each year to fill a football field 190 feet high.

Whole Foods Introduces Organic, Sustainably-Packaged Wine

Whole Foods Markets is introducing Green Path brand wines, a line of organically grown and sustainably packaged wines, to its stores this month.

Whole Foods has designated September as "Organic Harvest Month" in all its stores and is promoting organic and green-oriented products throughout the month, including the "green" wine line. The brand is produced by an Australian winery called The Country Vintner.

Green Path wines are made using certified organic wine grapes and following a growing process that minimizes environmental impacts. The winery's sustainable practices also include vigilant water management and the recycling of waste into compost, according to a winery spokesperson.

A unique feature of the wine line is that it's packaged in 1 Liter Tetra Pak Tetra Prism aseptic packaging rather than the traditional glass wine bottle. The Tetra Prism aseptic packages are fully recyclable and use a smaller amount of energy and less material in their manufacture than most other types of food or beverage packaging. According to packaging experts the Tetra Prism package is one of the most sustainable forms of packaging currently on the market.

Whole Foods is introducing Green Path Chardonnay and Shiraz varieties in its stores beginning this month. The Australian-produced wines are made from single-estate organic grapes. The winery was founded in 1976 and is one of the oldest in Australia according to a winery spokesperson. The 280 acre vineyard where the wine grapes are grown is certified organic and bio-dynamic. You can learn more about the winery here.

Going green Isn't Just For Humans

When Candace Smith, founder of the "eco-friendly" Cain & Able brand of all natural canine personal care products, developed the line she did a species reversal...Instead of testing the line of dog shampoos, soaps and spritzes on animals, she tested the line on a human--herself.

Smith felt that if her green, all natural Cain & Able line, which is named after her two dogs, was going to be good enough for man's best friend then it also should be good enough for man.

All-natural and "eco-friendly" pet personal care products and foods are a booming segment of the multi-billion dollar pet food, personal care and accessories market in the U.S. And just as more and more American consumers are going greener in their lives they also are bringing their pets along for the "environmentally-friendly" ride. This article from the Sept. 11, 2007 Kansas City Star newspaper talks about the growing green pet personal care and food market and how "going green" isn't limited to just two-legged creatures anymore.

Green Notes

Company Produces Simple Commercial Solar Power System
Florida-based Solarsa, a solar energy development firm, has introduced one of the first solar cooling systems targeted specifically for commercial businesses. The innovative system, called Energy Independence System 005, can also use the sun to heat water and allows restaurants and in-store food service operations to recycle waste cooking oil. Read more about the innovative commercial solar power system here. Green Car Seats and More...Auto company Mazda has developed a material for car interiors and seats which is made out of 100% plant-derived fibers. The "green" material contains zero petroleum-based compounds. The material is rugged yet attractive and has many uses other than car seats. Read more about this green material innovation here.

The Kitchen of The Future: Green and More
The folks at the "Counter Intelligence" research group at MIT (Mass. Institute of Technology) has been studying peoples kitchens (yes that kind of "counter") and working on creating the kitchen of the future--an "eco-friendly," high-tech yet functional place for food preparation and more. You can read about some of their findings and ideas here. Also you can learn more by visiting their website. Lastly you can watch a video from the discovery channel about the "kitchen geniuses" here. Plastic Grocery Bag Bans...Louisville, Kentucky is the latest U.S. city to propose an outright ban on plastic grocery bags that aren't made of biodegradable materials. San Francisco, Oakland, Baltimore and a few other municipalities have already passed similar laws. California has a new law which requires all retailers with stores over a certain size to provide plastic bag recycling bins in their stores. The retailers must also offer reusable grocery bags for sale. New York state is currently considering a similar law. You can read more about the Louisville, Kentucky proposal here.

Green Notes from the UK
British Internet, Home Delivery Grocer To Tout Green Credentials...Online retailers are getting bad press these days for the amount of packaging they use to process and deliver grocery and other product orders. If you have ever purchased anything from or an online grocery delivery service you know these retailers generally use more packaging than even traditional brick and mortar retailers do. One online retailer, popular British E-grocer Ocado, is fighting back. The online grocer is set to launch a multi-million British pound TV advertising campaign touting its green credentials. You can read more about the UK E-retailer's green credentials and marketing plans here. Co-Op to Launch "Ethical" Mineral Water...UK retailer Co-op is introducing what it says is the world's first "ethical" mineral water brand. The brand is called Fairborne Springs Mineral Water, a Co-op corporate label. For each purchase of a bottle or multi-pack of the spring water brand the Co-op will make a donation to a charity that will fund the installation of a PlayPump clean water system. The PlayPump systems are powered by roundabouts, which children play on, pumping water into a storage tank that can be used by the whole community. The devices are used in countries like Africa where access to water is a challenge. Each PlayPump costs about $7,000 and Co-op says it wants to be able to purchase at least 100 per year through the donations. Tesco Invests $25 Million to Help Consumers Become Greener...UK retailer Tesco, the number two largest food retailer in the world, is investing $25 million dollars to fund an institute at Manchester University in Great Britian that will research ways to get consumers to be greener in their behaviors and to buy and use more "eco-friendly" products. You can read more about the donation and initiative here.

Good & Green Marketing Conference
Natural products companies Burt's Bees and Silk Soymilk will be among the companies who present case studies on green marketing at the upcoming Good & Green Green Marketing conference. The conference is being held in Chicago at the Chicago Cultural Center November 29-30, 2007. Get more information and details about the Good & Green Marketing Conference here.

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