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Wal-Mart's Summer Dimming Program Saves Big Energy

Wal-Mart Canada stores are dimming their lighting by over 30 percent for the summer, as part of a strategy to help the company reduce its carbon emissions by more than 19,000 tons over the course of the year.

The 240 stores that are part of the dimming project will save an estimated 4,500 tons of carbon emissions, the company estimates, and will also help reduce summer smog and lower the strain on the country's power grids during peak energy demand.

In addition to dimming the lighting, Wal-Mart Canada has adopted other methods of energy conservation, including retrofitting stores with energy efficient lighting, heating and air-conditioning, and purchasing renewable energy on a scale that will make the company Canada's leading commercial buyer of alternative energy.

"Our customers have told us to be creative and to act boldly when it comes to sustainability," said Wal-Mart Canada Corp. president and c.e.o. Mario Pilozzi in a statement. "We have been amazed at the positive response and the positive results already."

Stores across Ontario took part in a summer dimming pilot program in 2005 and 2006. The success of those projects led to the expansion of the program across Canada, and is a result of the company's environmental goals and its "For the Greener Good" program.

Wal-Mart Canada is also exploring new options for making other areas of its operations more sustainable, including its shipping and packing methods, store construction and design, and the materials it uses in its products.

"We have found that there is a great marriage between environmental sustainability and business sustainability," said Pilozzi. "There are many ways we can benefit our environment while benefiting our business. The effect of our lighting reductions is a great example: less lighting means we save more than a million dollars in energy costs while also taking the equivalent of 500 cars off the road for the year."

Wal-Mart has announced three long-term sustainability goals for its worldwide operations, which are: producing zero waste, using 100 percent renewable energy, and offering more environmentally friendly products to its customers.

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