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Hannaford aims to be powered entirely by renewables by 2024

Green Supermarket
Joel Page
AP file
A new Hannaford supermarket is seen Wednesday, July 22, 2009 in Augusta, Maine. It's the nation's first to achieve the U.S. Green Building Council's highest platinum standard for environmentally friendly construction.

In an effort to address climate change, a Maine grocery chain intends to use 100% green power in all its stores in just two years' time.

George Parmenter, health and sustainability lead for Hannaford Supermarkets, says at the moment, more solar power capacity must come online for the effort to be successful, but the company is pushing forward with its goal.

"We're figuring this out like everybody else as we go along, but it's important for us to get started on this," he says. "The recent news from the IPCC, and the situation is not getting better, and we just feel like it's time to act and that's why we're doing this."

Parmenter says that, so far, the company has achieved 30% renewable energy for its 184 stores by partnering with solar installations across Maine, Massachusetts and New York. Several stores also use rooftop solar to further offset their grid use.

"We know we want to get there, we're committed to get there, exactly how we'll do that is not 100% known, but we believe it will be through solar," Parmenter says. "Supermarkets are incredibly energy intensive buildings. You know, they're very brightly lit. We're heating stuff and cooling stuff all at the same time. The number of megawatts we need to cover is quite large — that's the biggest challenge really."

The 2024 target is part of the company's bigger goal to become carbon neutral by 2040.

Last year, after ten years of effort, the store announced it had achieved zero food waste, and now uses a system to divert food that would otherwise be sent to a landfill — another source of greenhouse gases.

Parmenter says it's important for Hannaford to push forward on aggressive climate goals to help inspire other businesses, and to encourage the development of more renewable resources.