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Neil Kudrinko, a grocer who has had political aspirations.
One of Kudrinko’s biggest sustainability projects was addressing the “super high humidity” in his store during the summer, something that affected both the store environment and the efficiency of the refrigeration system. One step was to replace the R-8 insulation in the roof with R-40 insulation along with a new roof (cost: $50,000). That was followed by the removal of the dropped ceiling in the retail space of the store and installation of ceiling fans to achieve better air quality and reduce humidity. Plus, the new HVAC system contains a Humiditrol dehumidification feature. He also installed an air curtain at the front entrance to reduce heating/cooling loss.
By controlling the humidity in the store, Kudrinko has reduced the frequency of frozen-food-case defrosting during the summer from two or three random times to occasional planned maintenance. This in turn results in fewer “perceived out-of-stocks” in the freezers and better sales, he said.
In his parking lot, Kudrinko installed two solar light poles with LED lamps (left), from Inovus Solar, Boise, Idaho. The poles contain solar collectors that power the lamps; motion sensors determine the intensity of the light. “It doesn’t light to highway standards, but it certainly is more than bright enough for a parking lot,” he said.
The parking lot also contains a “swale,” or a depressed area near the curb where rainwater can be diverted and absorbed into the soil beneath the lot rather than running off into the street, which borders a lake. “We’re cautious about the potential for putting contaminants into the lake,” said Kudrinko. Rainwater from the roof is also diverted beneath the ground of the parking lot.
Kudrinko actively promotes local foods, including produce and hormone- and antibiotic-free Angus beef. In addition to holding a fall harvest sale, he is helping local farmers find better distribution for their products. “We’re working with farmers to look at cooperatives to get more products into stores,” he said.
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