Giant Eagle Supermarket Tapped as First LEED Gold Grocer

Giant Eagle Supermarket Tapped as First LEED Gold Grocer

Supermarket retailer Giant Eagle earned LEED Gold status for a store in Columbus, the first to receive such a high eco-friendly rating from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The 75,000-square-foot store opened in August 2007, was awarded its certification in late September and received a plaque honoring its achievement in a ceremony yesterday.

The store’s design emphasizes natural light and fresh air and includes 82 skylights. In addition to the high-efficiency lighting, the store is powered by wind energy, has a white Energy Star roof, uses variable speed fans and is equipped with occupany sensors to help control HVAC systems  — like many of the LEED certified facilities operated by the retailer. The building is expected to use at least 20 percent less energy than conventionally built stores of comparable size.

Almost all the wood used in the building was harvested according to environmentally sensitive practices, the cabinetry is formaldehyde free and the wallboard used was made from 10 percent recycled material. Also, no ozone-depleting refrierants are used in the supermarket’s refrigerating or systems, the company said. Cooking oil, trimmings and other scraps from food processed or cooked at the store are saved and used for bio-diesel fuel, animal feed or lubricants, under a company program.

The firm’s drive to save energy and conserve other resources began more than 16 years ago and now includes the diversion of some 600 tons of plastic bags from landfill. Each year, the chain recycles more than 1,200 tons of cooking oil, fat and bones and more than 100 tons of cardboard and other paper products, the company said.

Giant Eagle opened the first supermarket to be certified under the USGBC’s green rating and assessment system in 2004. Founded 57 years ago, the company now operates 159 corporate and 61 independently owned and operated supermarkets. It also has 46 fuel and convenience stores in western Pennsylvania, Ohio, north central West Virginia and Maryland.