A Wild Oats supermarket in Boulder, Colo., has gained a LEED certification.

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System developed by the U.S. Green Building Council continues to become a bigger and bigger buzzword. Since its inception in 1998, LEED has grown to encompass over 14,000 projects in the United States and 30 countries.

It is most often identified with projects in which the primary climate control is HVAC, such as in office buildings. But it is also gathering more and more attention on the refrigeration side, especially in supermarkets.

Several years ago, a presentation at a Food Marketing Institute Energy and Technical Services conference focused on one supermarket looking at what it had already done in terms of energy efficiency improvements and being perceived as a ‘green’ project. Those involved in the process discovered that with just a few more tweaks, it could garner LEED certification.

These days, the process is more formal and intentional as with the recent announcement that Clive Samuels and Associates performed the mechanical, electrical and refrigeration system designs for the LEED-certified Wild Oats pilot supermarket in Boulder, Colo.

The USGBC awarded the Boulder store the Silver LEED certification level under its new Retail Pilot rating system. This store is the first supermarket and second overall store to formally receive such a certification, according to a statement from Clive Samuels and Associates.

“The built environment has a profound impact on our natural environment, economy, health and productivity,” said Tom Hicks, vice president, USGBC. “A green building is a high-performance building which is more environmentally responsible, healthier and more profitable.”

The store will ultimately achieve an estimated 25 percent reduction in energy usage, it was reported. The store’s design makes use of the ambient weather conditions in Boulder with an energy- efficient lighting system that applies daylight harvesting.

It also touts a refrigeration system that was developed to minimize the environmental impact of both high-energy usage and traditional refrigeration systems with large refrigerant charges. By minimizing refrigerant charges using secondary loop alternative technology on the medium- temperature application, the amount of refrigerant used was reduced by 76 percent.

“Our entire organization is committed to providing products and services that enhance energy efficiency and sustainability for the retail market,” said Clive Samuels. “We are truly excited to have contributed a design that helped Wild Oats achieve this highly-honored certification.”

For more information, visit www.hardinet.org.

Publication date:03/31/2008