WOW!! What a great green store for the Lakewood neighborhood! For those who don't know, Lakewood is an area of Dallas and Whole Foods Market has just built the greenest store we have ever built in this area of the country. If you are ever in this neck of the woods, come check it out! When we open new stores, we try out all kinds of innovations. Some work, some don't. We learn from them and share the scoop with our other stores. In this way, our stores around the country all benefit from new store openings and can try out new ideas themselves. So even if you can't make it to Lakewood, what we do here could affect your local store. In Lakewood, we started with an existing (but vacant) grocery store building and transformed it into a beautiful Whole Foods Market for our community. The store has many, many green features from recycled to re-usable, from sustainable to consumption conscious. We started this project with a LEED-focused build and while we are still waiting for the final word, we are keeping our fingers crossed for a Silver Certification. We recycled during the demolition and construction process and it was very impressive to watch how the General Contractor and the Sub-Contractors focused on making sure they maximized the amount of recycling. We installed 47 skylights with a system that has a solar powered unit built in. It will track the sun's position in the sky to maximize the amount of daylight harvesting that takes place. Also, this system is connected to the lighting in the store and when the daylight harvest is at a certain level, it will kick down the ambient light in the store to 5%. We used high efficiency lighting throughout the store and LED where we could. One cool note is that there are only six types of light bulbs used throughout the store - maybe not a big deal for a home but a really big deal for a business! We installed motion sensors in the frozen section so that lights are only on when we have customers in front of the cases. On all of the refrigerated cases, we installed nightshades that are pulled down when the store is closed - this will help with the cooling of the cases by not allowing the cold air to escape. We were very fortunate to receive a Silver Green Chill Certification, which basically means that we used all non ozone-depleting refrigerants and designed the store to use the lowest refrigerant charges possible (about 1750 lbs - most stores run at least three times that much). We designed with recycled materials as well - look for the recycled glass bottle counter tops on the customer service and the coffee bars. And last but not least, we installed a new kind of hand air dryer in the restrooms. Along with being low energy consumption (uses up to 80% less energy), it's super fast and hygienic. Thanks to everyone who researched these green innovations and did the work to make them happen. Got green ideas for future stores? Let us hear about them! Seth Stutzman started with Whole Foods Market about ten years ago as an Associate Store Team Leader in Seattle at our Roosevelt Square store. He's become something of a legend for helping open new stores and start them off on the right foot - First Bellevue, WA, and then our flagship Austin store before becoming a VP for our Southwest Region, now responsible for Design, Development & Operations for numerous stores.