Next time you visit Wal-Mart, imagine pulling up to the store to see a new solar panel on the roof top. It’s not a far-fetched idea – after all, with this retail giant’s stores being an average of about 197,000 square feet in size, they might as well make good use of their large spaces to not only save customers money but also to save the planet.
Although department stores might be blamed for urban sprawl, they admittedly do offer a ray of sunshine. These large facilities can help to reduce their own utilities costs by relying on solar power, which further helps the planet by eliminating the need to burn fossil fuels for power generation, thus reducing greenhouse gas emissions into the air.
Although Wal-Mart has been introducing renewable energy systems over the past few years, home products company IKEA is catching up – installing new solar energy systems at sites such as those in Arizona, Pennsylvania and even New York. Several other IKEA department stories in other states are jumping on the solar power bandwagon, too, including Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota, Massachusetts and New Jersey.
In fact, IKEA appears to actually be speeding ahead of Wal-Mart in the solar race, having introduced solar systems at 3/4 of its 44 facilities in the United States. This results in 31.6 megawatts of solar power in America (just 1.3 million kilowatt hours per year actually is sufficient to provide power to a whopping 112 homes). IKEA also is going green in several other aspects by buying a Scottish wind energy plant, slowly getting rid of un-green incandescent light bulbs and installing a geothermal system at a store location in Colorado.
IKEA further has announced its goal to accept only wood from forests certified as being responsibly managed. IKEA appears to have the key to going green in the retail sector. Now, it’s time for Wally World to catch up in its efforts to save the world and for Target to get on target with the green movement as well. If all retail establishments do their part in the solar industry as Ikea has done, this could result in solid utilities cost savings in the industry along with a happier Mother Earth for generations to come.
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