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Friday, July 24, 2009

Green Grocer

AUGUSTA -- The world's most environmentally-advanced supermarket opens Saturday at the former site of Cony High School.
The new Hannaford Supermarket, according to Rick Fedrizzi, president, chief executive officer, and founding chairman of the United States Green Building Council, is the first supermarket in the world to achieve his organization's highest-rated, Platinum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification.

"Our review team said it was one of the cleanest, most amazing projects they'd seen in a very long time," Fedrizzi said Thursday while announcing the building had achieved platinum status, at a ceremony in the entryway of the new store. "This store will use less energy, less water, create less waste. It will do tremendous things. But what it does most is educate."

Fedrizzi said the 50,000-square-foot building will use about 50 percent less energy than a conventional building of the same size.

"Why wouldn't we build the most environmentally-advanced supermarket in the world, and why wouldn't we want to build it in the state capital of our home state?" Ronald Hodge, CEO and president of Hannaford, said.

Baldacci praised the leadership of Hannaford for building the store, which he said he hoped would be a model for other businesses.

Its "green" features include:

* A "GreenChill" refrigeration system which uses 50 percent less refrigerant gas than a traditional system;

* Doors on nearly all freezer and refrigerated cases, saving energy and creating warmer in-store temperatures for shoppers and workers;

* Water from two 750-foot-deep geothermal wells, used to help regulate the building's temperature;

* What Hannaford says is the largest solar panel array in the state;

* Numerous skylights and windows designed to bring in natural light, and lights which dim or turn off when not needed;

* Lights on motion sensors on some products, which turn off when no one is there;

* An educational area in the entryway of the store, with environmental information;

* Low-flow, dual-flush toilets, waterless urinals and low-flow faucets in restrooms, and ice-free cases in the seafood department, together expected to reduce water usage by 38 percent;

* Some parking spots, close to the store, reserved for employee car and van pools, and shoppers driving low-emission hybrid vehicles.

One of the more unusual design features are green and red plants, sedums, on 7,000 square feet of the roof.

Gunnar Hubbard, principal of Fore Solutions, a Portland-based green building consultant who worked on the project, said the plants do not require watering, and the layered system of soil and plants reduces water runoff and helps insulate the store.

Augusta Hannaford Store Manager Ruben Lemelin said the new store will employee 159 people, about twice as many as at the Willow Street Hannaford. All employees, or associates, from Willow Street will move to the new store, Lemelin said.

Lemelin said he could not reveal the cost of the new store. He did say it cost between 20 and 25 percent more to build than a conventional store if its size.

City records filed as Hannaford sought a permit for the project in 2006 indicated it would be an approximately $10 million building.