A Greener Building

Central Co-op’s Principle #8 is Concern for Ecosystems: Recognizing our dependence on the Earth’s natural systems and resources, we respect animal habitats, human habitats, and the Earth’s biological and physical equilibrium in the course of our activity as a cooperative. This is Part 1 in a series that highlights some of the many ways we act on this principle, including through what products we sell, how we run our business, and our participation in community projects.

Central Co-op is always looking for ways to reduce our negative environmental impact through the way we operate our stores. Since 2014, we’ve made a few large-scale investments in equipment and worked to identify smaller changes in practice that we can make to reduce our footprint, such as:

Reducing Use of Natural Gas
In 2014, the Co-op installed a heat exchanger system that allowed us to capture the excess heat from our new condenser unit.  This excess heat was used to heat the building, displacing some of our need for natural gas.  This change conserved so much heat that it led to our monthly natural gas bill dropping by nearly 75%!

Reducing Water Use
We reduced our water use at our Seattle location by 13% from 2015 to 2016, mostly due to the installation of low-flow toilets in our restrooms. Over the past two years, our water use has declined another 18%.

Reducing Coolant Leakage
We made improvements to maintenance practices of our refrigeration equipment which reduced the leak rate of our coolant by over two thirds. The coolant used in our refrigeration systems is a powerful greenhouse gas, which has no negative impact as long as it stays inside the system.

Reducing Use of Electricity
In 2017, we replaced the light bulbs in the store with LEDs and reaped a 12% decrease in our electricity usage over the last two years.

Reclaimed Materials
When our landlord created our new stairwell, we looked for ways to use repurposed building materials. The steps you are standing on right now are made with reclaimed White Oak that was originally part of a giant shipping container!

Our operations staff will continue to implement improvements in our practices with the goal of making the Co-op as environmentally friendly as possible! 

Part 2: Reducing Waste

Part 3: Supporting Sustainable Agriculture

More on how the Co-op supports our ecosystem




Date: Wednesday May 01, 2019

Category: In The Co-op

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