November 18, 2010
Walmart Canada opened its first sustainable fresh food distribution center that will be an estimated 60 percent more energy-efficient than the company’s traditional refrigerated centers.
The retailer, which expects a savings of approximately $4.8 million in energy costs over five years, has invested $115 million to build the 400,000 square foot center, one of Canada’s largest refrigerated buildings.
The Balzac facility also includes the company’s first pilot programs for hydrogen fuel cells, solar thermal and wind power.
The hydrogen fuel cells replace traditional lead acid batteries in the facility’s entire fleet of 71 material handling vehicles. The program is expected to reduce C02 emissions from the vehicle fleet by 55 percent or an estimated 530 tons annually. Their use will also improve productivity and result in a cost-avoidance of an estimated $1.3 million over five years, the retailer said in a statement.
The distribution center also features two 30-kilowatt wind turbines on the facility’s grounds that will generate about 100,000 kWh per year each. Sixteen solar thermal panels on the facility will provide energy to heat domestic hot water for use in offices and maintenance areas. The solar array will produce a peak of over 205 kilowatt hours per day.
Other sustainable features include LED lighting, smart refrigeration and high-efficiency dock doors and doorways.
Walmart Canada has invested $220 million over the past two years to update and expand its distribution network: four sites in Calgary, Alberta, including Balzac; one site in Cornwall, Ontario, and three sites in Mississauga.