SALISBURY, N.C. — Food Lion stores, a supermarket chain headquartered here and operating in 11 states, is applying several steps to make more than 650 of its stores more energy efficient and also reduce air pollution emissions.

The company formally joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Buildings and Green Lights Partnership Program in a signing ceremony in late March at the grand opening of Food Lion’s new store at 1856 South Lake Drive, Lexington, S.C.

Efficient lighting

The 39,000-sq-ft store uses smaller, more efficient fluorescent tube lighting and water heaters that reclaim waste heat from the store’s refrigeration units. The T-8 lighting will be installed in other new stores being built by Food Lion, as well as in stores that are being remodeled.

At the Lexington store, lighting efficiency in the produce department is also enhanced by rectangular lighting assemblies lowered from the ceiling to highlight produce island displays.

“Food Lion is committed to reducing waste, which not only protects our environment, but also cuts costs,” said Keith Gehl, Food Lion vice president of real estate.

“The Energy Star Buildings and Green Lights Partnership is a wonderful opportunity to do what’s right for the environment and pass on more savings to our customers.”

Upon completion of the program, Food Lion’s energy consumption is estimated to be reduced by 28 million kWh/yr.

Jerry Copeland, R&D-energy manager for Food Lion, said the waste-heat-reclaim water heaters, now just in the Lexington store and one North Carolina location, will be incorporated in other stores after approval from South Carolina and other state health departments.

Heat recovery

The Therma-Stor heat recovery system installed in the Lexington store is made by the Therma-Stor Products Division of DEC International, Madison, Wis.

The dual-tank installation at Lexington uses a “hot plate” heat exchanger to provide maximum heat transfer surface area while minimizing refrigerant pressure drop, the manufacturer says.

If needed, electric resistance heat units built into each tank can supplement the reclaimed heat to provide water at the right temperature.

Tawn Earnest, corporate communications representative for Food Lion, said the chain will convert at least 60% of its stores to energy-conservation and energy-efficient equipment over the next seven years.

“That will reduce carbon dioxide emissions, too,” she noted. At the new Lexington store, the waste-heat-reclaim water heating system is expected to reduce such emissions by 63,700 lb/yr.

Food Lion is opening 73 new stores and will remodel 140 this year, she stated, all within EPA Energy Star Buildings and Green Lights Partnership Program guidelines.

The company is currently qualified for the first two stages of the Energy Star program, Copeland said.

The first stage is the Green Lights, installation of energy-efficient lighting technologies. Stage 2 is Building Tune-Up, comprised of checking and adjusting building systems as well as designing and implementing an ongoing preventive maintenance plan.

Stage 3 of the Energy Star sequence is hvac load reduction; Stage 4 is fan system upgrades; and Stage 5 is hvac plant improvements, EPA officials explained to The News.

Copeland said Food Lion is also testing a dual-path heating and air conditioning system at one store to evaluate its performance before recommending its use in additional stores. The approach “lowers store humidity to 45%, and we look for an overall savings on refrigeration of 13% because of it,” Copeland explained.

More information on the Therma-Stor waste-heat-reclaim water heaters can be found at www.thermastor. com (website).