BENTONVILLE, Ark., Jan. 18 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) announces it will open tomorrow in Kansas City, Mo. the first in a series of High-Efficiency stores that will use 20 percent less energy than a typical Supercenter. In addition to the cutting-edge technologies already found in Wal-Mart stores, the new High-Efficiency stores will integrate industry-leading heating, cooling and refrigeration systems to conserve energy. High-Efficiency stores will help the retailer move one step closer to achieving its environmental goals, which include using less energy and producing less waste. "Just over a year ago, our CEO Lee Scott challenged our associates to open a store that was 25 to 30 percent more efficient by 2009," said John Menzer, vice chairman, Wal-Mart Stores. "The Kansas City High-Efficiency store is the first of its kind, and shows Wal-Mart is capable of operating stores, clubs and distribution centers in a way that saves energy, lowers utility costs, reduces emissions, and above all, provides a better shopping experience for our customers." In 2005, Wal-Mart opened two experimental stores in McKinney, Texas, and Aurora, Colo., to test several different environmentally friendly technologies, ranging from wind power to pervious pavement, from waterless urinals to light-emitting diodes. The aim was to experiment with innovative technologies, with the intention that they could some day be incorporated into a store prototype. The Kansas City High-Efficiency store is the first store to bring some of these experiments from the preliminary testing phase to a practical trial phase. Wal-Mart plans to open the next High-Efficiency store in Rockton, Ill., this spring. "We are learning a tremendous amount from our experimental stores," said Eric Zorn, president, Wal-Mart Realty. "Wal-Mart stores are already some of the most energy-efficient in the retail industry, but we want to take efficiency even further. This new Supercenter is where we really get to put what we've learned into practice, and we're excited to reach a 20 percent energy reduction so quickly." To achieve the 20 percent energy reduction at the new Kansas City High- Efficiency store, the company will target two main energy-consuming units: the heating and air conditioning system (HVAC), and the refrigeration system. With the installation of special equipment, such as a water source heat pump and cooling towers, hot and cold water can be harnessed to drive new levels of efficiency. Specifically, the new HVAC and more efficient refrigeration systems are fully integrated so that 100 percent of the heat rejected by the refrigeration system is reclaimed into the HVAC. The reclaimed heat is then converted into usable energy. By incorporating a loop-piping design, the advanced refrigeration system also reduces the amount of installed copper and the total refrigerant charge required. "For years, retailers have used air cooled equipment for air conditioning and refrigeration," Vice President of Prototype and New Format Design Charles Zimmerman said. "In recognizing that water has four times the heat carrying capacity of air, we realized it would be much more efficient as a conductor of energy in our heating, cooling and refrigeration systems. In this High- Efficiency store, we're putting that to the test by utilizing our on-site resources to full capacity before applying secondary power sources." Other energy-saving technologies in the High-Efficiency store include the installation of ultra-efficient case fans, glass doors on medium temperature grocery cases, RollSeal(R) quick response doors to seal air in areas such as the Garden Center, and a top-of-the-line dehumidification system. The store will also have a daylight harvesting system, which uses skylights to refract daylight throughout the store and light sensors to monitor the amount of natural light available. During periods of higher natural daylight, the system then dims or turns off the store lights when they aren't needed, thereby reducing energy-usage. Like many other Wal-Mart stores opening this month, the Kansas City Supercenter also features GE's energy-saving light-emitting diode (LED) refrigerated case lighting. LEDs have a longer life span than fluorescent bulbs, produce less heat and use significantly less energy than typical grocery case lighting. In the High-Efficiency store, motion sensor-driven LED lights have been installed in all freezer and medium-temperature refrigerated cases. When not in use for a few seconds, the lights in these cases automatically turn off, and quickly turn back on when a customer approaches. This direct learning from the Aurora and McKinney experimental stores is expected to add a 2 to 3 percent energy reduction, and will be rolled-out in new Wal-Mart stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and Sam's Clubs beginning this month. "We're very excited to launch this High-Efficiency concept in Kansas City, where our residents and local business leaders have shown that the environment is a key priority for them," said Dan Steele, Wal-Mart store manager. "Though most of the energy-saving technologies here are not visible to the public, we've added new signage to show our customers how these systems can help save money and keep our prices low." Lighting the Way for Energy Savings in Kansas City In addition to the focus on energy-efficient stores, Wal-Mart is committed to selling products that sustain our resources and our environment. As part of this store's grand opening events, Wal-Mart announces a partnership with Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes to support the city's "A Million Lights Campaign." With its donation of 21,000 compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), Wal-Mart will aid the city's campaign to distribute CFLs to low-income and senior citizen households in Kansas City, Mo. The Wal-Mart gift will also help the city reach its goal to change one million incandescent bulbs to energy-saving CFLs by October 2007. This in-kind donation of more than $53,000 brings this store's total grand opening donations to local charities and organizations -- such as the Kansas City Weatherization Improvement Project, Bridging the Gap, and the Boys Club of Greater Kansas City -- to $110,000. About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Every week, more than 127 million customers visit Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets, and Sam's Club locations across America. The company and its Foundation are committed to a philosophy of giving back locally. Wal-Mart is proud to support the causes that are important to customers and associates right in their own neighborhoods, and last year gave more than $245 million to local United States communities. To learn more, visit http://www.walmartfacts.com , http://www.walmart.com , or http://www.walmartfoundation.org .
SOURCE Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.