We have a team dedicated to finding new and better ways to achieve energy efficiency throughout our operations. We have dramatically decreased our energy use year over year, which reduces our environmental impact and costs.
For over 15 years, our stores have conserved energy by adjusting the lighting and heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems so they operate efficiently and only when needed. Additionally, we process our energy management information online, which helps us resolve inefficiencies quickly and keep energy use to a minimum. Today, we require high-efficiency HVAC units to further lower energy consumption, and continue to look for new ways to reduce our footprint through effective energy management.
A highlight of our energy management program in several of our distribution centers is our “air purging” program. During the day, the sun heats up our buildings. At night, when temperatures drop, we purge the hot air from the building and welcome fresh, naturally cool air. This allows us to avoid several hours of air-conditioning every day, thereby saving energy costs. What's more, the purging program reduces our electricity demand from high-peak daytime hours and therefore reduces pressure on the electricity grid. Our distribution centers also save energy through high-efficiency motors and automated systems that shut-off equipment when not in demand.
RAISING THE BAR ON LIGHTING EFFICIENCY
Year after year, we continue to raise the bar on our energy efficiency standards. In the 1990s we achieved a 20 percent reduction in our electricity use in stores and a 12 percent reduction in the 2000s. We are currently evaluating the use of LED lighting as a possible next step for our energy efficiency program.
Our Las Vegas store's sign is illuminated by LED lightbulbs, producing the same light with 65% less electricity.
Our distribution centers have also pursued lighting efficiency through lighting retrofits and use of skylights.
In 2007, we began using thicker, higher-quality insulation in roofs for new store construction, which reduces the demand for air conditioning. While we don’t own many of our store buildings, we are often able to work with our landlords on energy efficiency improvements. In Texas, Arizona and Southern California, some stores have “white roofs” that reflect heat from the sun, which can reduce the cost of cooling by 40 percent during the summer months. We plan to continue leveraging these and other new ways to construct more environmentally friendly buildings.