BRUNSWICK, OH-Giving new meaning to the term “green grocer,” the 80,000-sf Giant Eagle supermarket at Brunswick Town Center becomes the first supermarket in the country to obtain Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certification. LEED is a national green building rating system administered by the US Green Building Council (USGBC).

While it is the first, it is not the last, according to Jim Lampl, who holds the title of director of conservation at Cleveland, OH-based Giant Eagle Inc. “We are already implementing many of these features into our new supermarkets,” he says. Furthermore, in February, the Environmental Protection Agency designated the company a 2004 Energy Star Retail Partner of the Year for its adoption of smart and efficient energy practices.

Environmentally friendly features were incorporated in this building from the ground up. The store consumes 30% less energy than comparable supermarket units, and more than half of its electrical energy is supplied through wind generation. Fifty skylights are equipped with integral sensors that automatically adjust the amount of electric light, based on the amount that comes from the skylights. Furthermore, a white, reflective roof combines with increased insulation to allow the building to heat and cool quickly.

The refrigeration and cooling systems do not use ozone-depleting refrigerants, and air quality sensors monitor the store’s interior for carbon dioxide and other gasses. A natural filtration system filters storm water from the parking lot into an adjacent marshland. Water conservation equipment will save an estimated 100,000 gallons of water a year. Another 400,000 gallons a year will be saved through the use of water-resistant plants and trees that require no irrigation other than rain water.

Furnishings and fittings also contribute to the LEED certification. Furniture in the stores’s Eagle’s Nest child learning and activity center for children aged three through nine are of a particleboard made of pressed sunflower seeds. Cabinetry in the store is made of recycled strawboard, and the gypsum wallboard in the unit is made of 100% recycled material.

Giant Eagle representatives could not be reached at press time. In a statement, Kevin Srigley, VP of marketing, called LEED certification here “a continuation of our pledge to understand the environmental issues that we all face and to adopt appropriate practices to meet those challenges. Our conservation department continues to pursue alternative sources of conservation and initiatives.”

Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair of USGBC, called Giant Eagle’s determination to become the first LEED-certified supermarket “is unmatched and sets an important example for others in the supermarket industry to follows.”

The average premium cost of building green is estimated by USBGC at $5-per-sf more than for comparable building. Savings quickly recoup the cost, the council contends. It reports that just $100,000 worth of energy-saving adaptations on a $5-million project can yield $1 million in energy savings over 20 years.

Privately owned Giant Eagle Inc. encompasses 211 supermarkets, of which 140 are corporate-owned and 81 are independently owned and operated. They are located in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Maryland and typically range from 75,000 sf to 85,000 sf. The company’s annual sales exceed $5.2 billion.

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