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Longo's to open Canada's 'first net-zero' grocery store

Grocery chain's Stouffville, Ont.

Longo’s is building a super-efficient supermarket with some help from the Federal Government.

The 40,000-sq.-ft. store in Stouffville, Ont., opening Nov. 1, is being described as “Canada’s first near net-zero supermarket,” meaning the store will use 35% less energy than average and produce 65% of its own energy thanks to leading-edge efficient building design and the incorporation of renewable energy systems and operating technologies.

Some of the energy-reducing innovations includes CO2 refrigeration with heat ejectors; a combined cooling, heating and power system; high efficiency building envelope (the boundary between the interior and exterior of a building); LED lighting; advanced heat recovery; and solar photovoltaics on the roof, carports, cart corrals and building façade. Longo’s is working with Neelands Group Limited and S2E Technologies Inc. to build the store. (Others contributing to the project include FCML, SNC Lavalin, Studio Intersekt and Hammerschlag & Joffe.)

Longo’s has long been focused on building and running more efficient stores that reduce both greenhouse gas emissions and operating costs, said Dave Mastroieni vice-president central procurement and facility management, Longo Brothers Fruit Markets Inc. “Grocery stores are heavy users of energy,” he said. “Any initiative that helps us reduce that is beneficial in the long run.”

The store is projected to cost more than $11 million (about 30% more than a typical location) to build and fit with the latest technology, but the Federal Government is contributing more than $1.4 million through Natural Resources Canada’s “Energy Innovation Program.”

"Longo's Stouffville supermarket will demonstrate first-of-its-kind net-zero energy solutions, making it one of the most sustainable supermarkets in Canada,” said Jane Philpott Member of Parliament for Markham–Stouffville, in a release. “Through their energy-efficient practices and their use of renewable energy technologies, they are creating new jobs and protecting our environment."

Ottawa hopes the new store can be used as an example for the industry of how grocery stores can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve clean and efficient energy consumption. While net-zero supermarkets have been attempted in other countries, the challenges are greater in Canada’s extreme climate which makes building heating and cooling more difficult.

“What is unique is that all the different technologies working together,” said Mastroieni. “Because each piece of this technology has been used somewhere in the industry…but nobody has really put everything together in this climate to make it work in unison.”

According to Mastroieni the location in Stouffville will reduce between 1,500–2,000 metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year, the equivalent to taking 274 to 366 cars off the road annually.

The company will continue to push to get closer to net zero in future stores looking at innovations such as better battery storage, geothermal and windmills. Meanwhile, Longo's will look to reduce energy consumption in existing stores as well.

Solar panels have already been installed in seven sites and head office and could be added to others, as could more CO2 refrigeration, and LED retrofits are underway. There’s significant upfront capital costs to install the most advanced LED systems but you reduce maintenance costs of traditional systems, save energy and provide a better in-store experience for both customers and employees, said Mastroieni.




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