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Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011 10:58 am

NEW STORE USES LESS ENERGY

On Sept. 15 when computers turned on the energy-efficient T-8 fluorescents a half hour before opening time on opening day at the new Aldi grocery store, energy savings kicked in.  The new store, off South Sixth St. near Walmart, is 2,500 square feet larger than the store it replaced at 1770 W. Wabash, yet it uses less energy. And while it is larger than the old Aldi’s, the new store still boasts a “smaller footprint” than most grocery stores, which makes for savings on construction and operations. Parking lot lighting is controlled by photo cells to come on at dusk, and motion sensors keep lights turned off in the restrooms when they’re not in use. There are energy-saving LED lights that give off less heat in the coolers and freezers. A “consolidated energy solutions” computer controls humidity throughout the store and reclaims heat that can be reused. A system “brain” carefully controls the store temperature, while closed freezers keep the store from being frigid like some groceries. In the new store an open ceiling allows air to be circulated with diffusers, rather than with ductwork as in older stores with a drop ceiling.

Conserving energy comes naturally to a store where a quarter deposit brings carts back from the parking lot, and where restocking shelves means little more than opening a cardboard box, according to Mike Rosch, director of real estate for Aldi, from the company’s regional headquarters in Dwight. “Everything we do is designed to be as efficient as possible.”
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