Retailers are abuzz with sustainability and energy savings these days, perhaps none more so than grocers. Supermarkets devour energy given their generous operating hours—many 24/7—requiring lighting as well as climate control for both people and perishables.
The retail industry’s energy consumption and sustainability issues have reached the U.S. Green Building Council LEED program, and USGBC created a Retail Pilot Program several years ago to help develop a new green building standard for the retail sector.
Hannaford Bros., the Scarborough, Maine-based supermarket chain with 170 stores serving five Northeastern states, participated in the USGBC’s LEED for Retail pilot and designed the country’s first-ever LEED Platinum-certified supermarket, achieving the program’s highest designation for a green building. The 49,000-sq.-ft. store in Augusta, Maine, achieved 57 points, placing it well into the parameters of LEED Platinum. The Augusta store opened last July, on a remediated brownfield site, after two and a half years of planning by Hannaford’s in-house architecture, design, energy, and mechanical departments, along with assistance from more than a dozen outside consultants.
Among them was Fore Solutions, the Portland, Maine-based LEED and green consultancy that advised Hannaford on green building standards, and helped assemble the consultant team, beginning in February 2007. Fore acted as Hannaford’s liaison to USGBC’s LEED certification process and its participation in the Retail Pilot program. “Our goal was to ensure that the store’s LEED Platinum certification was the result of good integrated design, sound construction practices and reduced operating expenses to exemplify Hannaford’s long-term environmental commitment,” explains Gunnar Hubbard, LEED AP, Fore Solutions founder.
Among the Augusta store’s green features are solar photovoltaic panels (the largest array in the state of Maine), geothermal heating and cooling (two 750-ft. deep wells), high-efficiency refrigeration (using GreenChill technology), and energy-efficient lighting fixtures (for long-lived T8 and T5 sources).
A 7,000-sq.-ft. green roof (trays planted with drought-resistant sedum) solves a number of eco concerns—sedum plants require little water and reclaim storm runoff while helping to absorb and filter water. The green roof also diffuses heat, so that the interior remains constantly comfortable while using less energy. The rest of the roof is painted a light color to reflect heat, thus mitigating a heat island effect. (Reflective pavement in the parking lot also decreases the heat build up.)
The store façade utilizes post-and-beam construction that incorporates reclaimed timbers, and the interior utilizes low-VOC paints, sealants, and other low-emission materials. Hannaford already has incorporated these readily available materials, which contribute to improved indoor air quality and earn LEED points, in other stores.
Natural light floods into the store, thanks to banks of large windows, a three-sided glass transom, 50 skylights, and 12 solar tubes. There’s also a pop-up glass “pavilion” on the roof, lined with angled light shelves that bounce light from the glass pavilion to the ceiling and back down. High-efficiency T5 and T8 fixtures supplement the ambient daylighting as needed. Motion-sensored LED lights turn on inside refrigerated cases triggered by passing customers. The overall lighting plan handily contributes to LEED credits.
Refrigerated and freezer cases account for nearly half of a supermarket’s annual electricity costs, according to the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Lighting and HVAC follow as the next largest power drains in a typical supermarket. The Augusta store incorporates GreenChill technology in its refrigerated area, explains Fred Conlogue, Hannaford’s director of design. The GreenChill Advanced Refrigeration Partnership is an EPA cooperative alliance with the supermarket industry and suppliers to promote technologies, strategies, and practices that reduce refrigerant charges and emissions of ozone-depleting substances and greenhouse gases.
Engineered to consume nearly 50 percent less energy than a similarly sized facility, the new Augusta store addresses water usage by reducing water consumption. The Augusta store conserves 38 percent more water than a typical grocery store. Hannaford accomplished this through the introduction of low-flow faucets and waterless urinals. Eliminating icemakers (used in the seafood department) also enhanced water savings to nearly half a million gallons per year—or enough to fill 11 tractor-trailers. Additionally, the store is able to reclaim heat from the refrigeration system to warm the store and produce hot water used in restrooms.
Despite its green offerings, the Augusta store still is easily recognizable as part of the Hannaford family of stores—from its easy-to-navigate layout to the warm woods and saturated palette of oranges, yellows, reds, and greens. “Our fixture plan as well as the interior décor and design is our current prototype,” Conlogue explains. “We didn’t toss that out because of this being a green store.” While fixtures and furniture did not figure into the LEED point calculation, Conlogue explains, “in the spirit of what the project was all about, we really did spend time scanning everything including our décor package and our fixture manufacturers. Availability and competitive price is getting better and better, but there really wasn’t a lot there in terms of recycled content.”
That said, Conlogue continues, “You don’t really have to turn yourself completely inside out to be sustainable. You (do) need to integrate it and embed it in who you are and what you’re doing.” That’s one reason Hannaford created an interactive education center in the store’s lobby to explain the innovative solutions implemented in the facility.
An overarching initiative for the August store was eliminating materials wherever possible. Take the store’s concrete floor. They went with it, Conlogue says, “primarily because it meant specifying less materials, and because it was a low-emission product.” Green cheers to that.
Project: Hannaford Supermarket and Pharmacy.
Owner: Hannaford Bros. Co.
Designers: Fred Conlogue, director of design services; Rande Gray, LEED AP, design project manager; Harrison Horning, director, energy and facility management. Green Building and LEED Consultant: Fore Solutions, Gunnar Hubbard, LEED AP, principal; Allison Zuchman, project manager.
Design Architect: Next Phase Studios.
Civil Engineer: Deluca-Hoffman Associates Inc.
Energy Analysis and Modeling: Enermodal Engineering.
Daylighting Consultant: Clanton & Associates. Energy & Systems Design Engineering: Transsolar.
Photovoltaic System Design: Solar Design Associates Inc.
Building Contractor: Whiting-Turner.
Site Contractor: Sargent Corp.
Waste Management (Demolition):Institution Recycling Network.
Commissioning Agent: Investment Engineering.
Refrigeration Consultant: Boyko Engineering.
Geothermal System Design & Installation: Bellino-Grosso, Smith Pump.
Photographer: Gordon Chibroski, Freelantz Images.