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Built Environment: Designing Energy Efficient Stores

Learn about how we’re promoting alternative energy in our stores and helping our customers reduce their environmental impact.

White Text: Leading the Way to Building Greener Grocery Stores Worldwide

Built environment refers to human-made physical spaces where we live, work and play. For us, it means going above and beyond to design and operate our stores in ways that maximize our energy efficiency. And it's one of the many reasons why we're doing our part to promote alternative energy and help our customers reduce their environmental impact.

Black text: 20+ leed certified stores, 70+ stores with solar roofs, 200+ EV charging stations

We’re constantly exploring new and innovative technology to make our stores more energy efficient. Learn about our achievements and ongoing efforts to ensure we're nourishing our planet for the future.

Installing Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

We installed our first electric vehicle charging station at our flagship store in Austin, Texas, more than a decade ago. Since then, we’ve been a leader among U.S. retailers in offering more and faster electric vehicle charging stations in our parking lots. As of 2021, we have more than 200 Whole Foods Market stores with electric vehicle charging stations and are always adding more.

Harnessing Solar Energy

As of 2021, we have 70 stores and facilities supplementing traditional supply with power from rooftop solar installations. More are in development, and some stores have battery storage installations.

Achieving Green Building Certifications

We are proud to have dozens of stores that have been Green Globes– or LEED-certified across North America. These are both globally recognized symbols of energy efficiency achievement and leadership.

LEED-Certified Stores

Used worldwide, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a green building certification program that includes a rating system for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of buildings of all shapes and sizes. This program aims to help building owners and operators be environmentally responsible use resources more efficiently.

Green Globe–Certified Stores

As a nationally recognized green rating assessment, guidance and certification program, Green Globes provides tools to work toward sustainability goals.

Using Green Refrigeration

Whole Foods Market is proud to be a leader among U.S. supermarkets in our efforts to reduce emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). HFCs are a group of industrial chemicals primarily used for cooling and refrigeration, many of which are powerful greenhouse gases.

GreenChill Partnership

Whole Foods Market is a founding partner and active participant of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s GreenChill program, which helps food retailers transition to alternative refrigerants, reduce refrigerant charge sizes, eliminate leaks and adopt improved refrigeration technologies. Whole Foods Market is also a founding member of the North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council and continues to actively participate.

All-Electric Grocery Stores

We have several all-electric stores in California, and stores near San Francisco have piloted a technology that combines advanced cloud computing, predictive analytics and thermal energy storage to control their refrigeration systems during spikes in energy usage.

Making Our Refrigeration Even Greener

Over 30 of our stores now utilize refrigeration systems that rely on refrigerants with lower global warming potential and use a central refrigeration system as a primary or secondary refrigerant.

We are currently working to retrofit the refrigeration systems at more than 100 of our stores with next-generation Solstice N40 (R-448A) refrigerant, which has a global warming potential (GWP) that is approximately 68% lower than legacy HFC refrigerants. GWP is gas’s ability to trap extra heat in our atmosphere over time.

Whole foods market in south boulder with mountains in background

Designing Grocery Stores of the Future

We’ve designed several stores that have been used as case studies for sustainability and energy-efficiency practices. A flagship Whole Foods Market store in Brooklyn, New York, is 100% HFC-free and about 60% more efficient than the average grocery store thanks to innovative technologies. This store has achieved LEED platinum, GreenChill Platinum and four Green Globes.

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