SAN ANTONIO -- H.E. Butt Grocery Co. here entered a new era of energy efficiency and environmental conservation recently when it opened its new 82,000-square-foot store in Austin, Texas.
The retailer implemented a number of "green" energy-efficient measures involving lighting, heating and refrigeration, which should save H-E-B about $22,000 annually, according to Kate Brown, spokeswoman for H-E-B.
Some of the savings to be seen from this project will come from the recycling of heat released from the refrigeration systems.
"[The] heat released from the refrigeration system heats water for the entire store," Brown told SN, adding that heat reclamation was a feature that the retailer requested during the design process for this store.
In addition to heat reclamation, the retailer has set up several energy-efficient lighting initiatives.
H-E-B is using occupancy sensor lights in its food-preparation departments, administrative areas and restrooms to light up those areas as needed.
When someone is not in the area, the lights will automatically turn off, reducing wasted watts.
In its sales areas, H-E-B has installed 70-watt track lighting, which is 30 watts less than was previously used in similar sales areas. An electronic time clock reduces the sales area lighting by 60% for nighttime stocking.
All the refrigerated-case lighting and interior-signage lighting are also controlled by an electronic time clock, according to the retailer.
In an effort to reduce the build-up of heat in the building, H-E-B's roof membrane contains a reflectivity factor of 75%, reducing the heat load on the building, the retailer said.
But for operating on hot summer days, there is a new air-conditioning system. "In terms of the AC it's standard," Brown said, noting that the big difference is the refrigerant used in the new system. "The store will utilize R507" she said.
R507 is an ozone-friendly refrigerant that is being used more and more often to replace chlorofluorocarbon refrigerants such as R502, which are being phased out of use.
"It's the second H-E-B store that we have used it in," she added.
The Austin store was constructed on 9 acres out of 60 acres of H-E-B land that inhabits a sensitive ecosystem in Barton Springs.
The retailer only built on a small percentage of its land in response to the "Save Our Springs" ordinance that protects the quality of Austin's water supply from degradation due to urban development.