In its experimental stores, Wal-Mart has taken a number of steps to improve its energy efficiency:
• LED lights are used in exterior signs as well as internal grocery, freezer, and jewelry cases. These have proven to use less electricity and last longer.
• Skylights and clerestories were built to direct natural light inside the stores. Dimming controls were installed to monitor the natural light and adjust the lights in the store accordingly.
• Evaporative cooling was installed in the Aurora store, which uses water sprayed into the air stream to cool the air as it evaporates.
• Air distribution system ducts are mounted 11 feet above the ground to distribute air closer to the floor. This system results in a reduced amount of energy needed to cool the store.
• A portion of the heating for the stores uses recovered cooking oil and motor oil, burned via a bioboiler, to heat water used in a radiant heating system. Heat recovered from the refrigeration racks is also used.
• New refrigeration display cases were installed in the Aurora store. These refrigeration cases have doors and use state of the art technology. The doors reduce air infiltration in the case, thus reducing electricity usage.
Although Wal-Mart has racked up some wins for its energy-efficiency measures, the stores have not been a complete success. There have been problems with the stores' solar panels and windmills, which requires them to still use fossil fuels. The company continues to work on these issues, however, which is the point of having such stores.
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