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Walmart opens Western DC with sustainable twist


Walmart opened a new fresh food distribution centre this week in Balzac, Alta. The 400,000-square-foot DC will serve 104 Walmart Supercentres in Western Canada.

Built for $115 million, Walmart bills this DC as its first sustainable warehouse in Canada and calls it an example of how thinking green can have business returns.

The DC’s environmental features will save an estimated $4.8 million in energy bills over the next five years.

Those features include: the use of hydrogen fuel cells on all material handling vehicles rather than lead acid batteries; on-site wind turbines and solar panels; and a refrigeration system using ammonia rather than Freon. Waste heat from the system keeps the sub-floor frost free in winter.

Walmart says the warehouse is 60% more energy efficient than its traditional refrigerated warehouses.

“This living lab of sustainability is supporting the expansion of our modern Supercentre format while also helping us get closer to meeting our long-term sustainability goals,” Andy Ellis, Walmart Canada’s senior vice-president of supply chain and logistics, said in a statement.

Though the warehouse is owned by Walmart, it’s operated by Supply Chain Management, a logistics provider, and employs 600 people.

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