Friday, November 5, 2010

Green Grocer

I read an article detailing the architectural advances within a newly constructed LEED-Platinum Hannaford supermarket in Augusta, Maine. It is the first supermarket in our nation to gain such a certification through the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program. Motion sensitive LED's, solar panels, a green roof, solar tubes, and waterless urinals are among the innovations to be found here. Together, they allow this Hannaford location to consume 50% less energy and 38% less water than a standard supermarket of the same size.

I wonder why only one such supermarket exists in our country. If we can build facilities that leave a smaller footprint, how does it make since to keep building stores that suck up twice as much energy? Do you think that Hannaford built this store for the savings or for the publicity? People simply don't realize how much effort goes directly to keeping our food cold and fresh while it's on the shelf. As the article states, half of a supermarket's electrical costs are from refrigeration. We can add this to the list of externalities that come with shopping at a supermarket. Still, the frugality of its operation does little to change the corn based, mono-culturally derived products that sit upon every shelf.

This being said, I live less than 30 minutes from this store, yet I have never set foot inside of it. In the case of a supermarket, people are inclined to shop at the most convenient location rather than one that might be slightly more efficiently operated. For this reason I will keep a watchful eye on this store and hope for it to be rewarded for its green efforts. Yet, I will smile as I watch, because the farmers' market consumes 100% less energy than any supermarket ever will.

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