Energy Efficient Wal-Mart

Credit where due. Wal-Mart is rolling out some newer, more energy efficient stores:

The High Efficiency stores use technology tested and developed in two experimental green stores Wal-Mart opened in 2005 in McKinney, Texas, and Aurora, Colorado, including a white roof that deflects the sun’s heat.

The latest generation takes the energy savings built into the HE.1 last year and adds new conservation measures focused on the refrigeration system and water heating and cooling, Wal-Mart said in a release.

Earlier innovations in the first-generation store included heating and cooling systems that recycle heat from refrigerators and freezer cases, higher-efficiency LED lights and sensors that turn off those lights when no customers are around.

Energy costs are rising, and W-M doesn’t want to have to raise prices. So it’s not altruism (although I’ve long believed that W-M’s PR “green” strategy is a way of blunting criticism about their labor practices). But this is exactly what’s supposed to happen in any effort to halt global warming. A carbon tax or cap-and-trade system increases the cost of consuming energy, and so business adapts accordingly. Yay, capitalism!

Of course, virtually no Wal-Marts are located within walking distance of anything, so any efficiency gains have to be weighed against the fleet of Chevy Suburbans glistening in the Wal-Mart parking lot.