Engineering Inc. - March/April 2007 - (Page 14)

Green Andy Ruben, Wal-Mart vice president of Sustainability WalESMart GO ★ The blue panels behind this Wal-Mart sign at its McKinney, Texas, store are actually photovoltaic cells that convert sunlight into electricity. Special Report ENERGY I n 2005, Wal-Mart embarked on an aggressive sustainability campaign with the creation of two experimental stores designed to save energy, conser ve natural resources and reduce pollution. In this exclusive interview with ACEC, Andy Ruben, Wal-Mart’s vice president of sustainability, discusses how the retail conglomerate’s efforts to go “green” have progressed and its efforts to prove that being an efficient and profitable business and good steward of the environment are both achievable goals. ANDY RUBEN: As an innovative company, we realized that being environmentally sustainable, in many respects, makes us a better company. We always look for ways to become better, and the more we learn about broader topics, the more opportunities we see to make a difference. Our three long-term goals—to be supplied by 100 percent renewable energy, to create zero net waste, and to sell products that sustain our resources and the environment—were formulated to push all of us at Wal-Mart to change the way we think about our business. We also have some near-term goals to measure our progress, which include designing and opening a 25 percent more efficient store prototype within four years and a 25 percent more efficient truck fleet within three years. We also have shared and will continue to share our practices, technologies and results outside our company, including with our direct competitors. ACEC: Wal-Mart is the nation’s biggest private user of electricity, owner of the nation’s second largest truck fleet, and employer of more manpower than the U.S. Army. With such a large footprint, what are the real effects of Wal-Mart’s sustainability efforts on the environment? RUBEN: We don’t know yet what the real effects ultimately will be. We focus on what we can do that makes sense for our customers. What we do know is that we can make a difference. For example, our commitment to sell only MSC-certified fish within three to four years has helped more than a dozen fisheries move toward more sustainable practices. It also provides our customers with affordable, fresh seafood that they can feel confident doesn’t come at the expense of our oceans. Efforts to remove heavy metals from laptops last year [RoHS] have created a move toward [removing them from] all major electronics in our stores. Customers get the same value without the heavy metals. ACEC: What role has engineering played in your sustainability goals? What are the “best practices” Wal-Mart is using in its infrastructure design to promote sustainable development? RUBEN: While engineering plays a role in many of our initiatives, it is of course the backbone of our energy efficiency efforts. Our in-house engineering staff works with outside engineering firm consultants and trade organizations. We are ahead of schedule in the development of our 25–30 percent more efficient prototype and ahead of schedule in reducing our energy consumption in our existing stores by 20 percent, thanks to our engineers. In fact, our Sustainable Buildings Network is headed by a licensed civil engineer, and two of his three subnetwork leaders are licensed professional engineers as well. Another example is the LED lighting in our new stores. We thought rollout of this technology was about three or four years away, and after working very closely with the major suppliers, we are starting to ACEC: Why, as the world’s largest retailer, did Wal-Mart decide to “go green”? What are your goals? 14 ENGINEERING INC. MARCH / APRIL 2007

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Engineering Inc. - March/April 2007

From ACEC to You
News & Notes
Legislative Action
Market Watch
Cover Story: Alternative Energy
The Greening of Wal-Mart
Re-Energizing the Industry
The BIM Boom
Help Wanted: Leaders for Tomorrow
The Path of Perseverance
ACEC/PAC Achieves Record Fundraising Year
ACEC Annual Convention
Helping Firms Manage Healthcare Costs
Facilities Management for A/E Firms
Business Insights
Members In The News
One on One

Engineering Inc. - March/April 2007