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    Sustainability Commitment Update: The Home Depot Canada

One Year Update

Challenge

As one of Canada’s largest retailers, The Home Depot is in a unique position to make changes that have big impact. We are dedicated to making a positive impact on the environment by operating a more efficient business. To lighten our environmental footprint, we have identified and implemented strategies to reduce in-store energy use, as well as use store rooftops to help power thousands of homes in Ontario with clean, alternative solar energy.

Since 2005, The Home Depot has achieved a savings of 220 million kWh of energy – enough energy to power 12,500 homes for one year. By 2015, we believe we can reach a 20 per cent reduction in kWh per square foot usage in Canadian stores. The installation of rooftop solar systems at 63 The Home Depot stores across Ontario is one step towards achieving this goal.

Strategy

In 2010, The Home Depot Canada decided to install rooftop solar systems at 63 The Home Depot stores across Ontario.   This project is operating under Ontario’s Feed in Tarriff (FIT) program, which makes rooftop solar generation an affordable endeavour. Earning a return from solar power will enable us to continue to invest in other sustainable initiatives. Not only does this project make good business sense, it also presents an opportunity for The Home Depot to be part of a long-term clean energy program that will achieve positive environmental benefits for Ontario, and set a standard for other companies to follow.

Results

A Home Depot store in Toronto, Ontario was the first store to have a system installed on its rooftop. By the end of 2010, 29 more The Home Depot stores had followed suit. The balance of 33 stores will be completed by the end of 2011.

Approximately half of the projects have been formally approved by the OPA. We expect the remaining projects to be formally approved within the next month although the rest of the sites are in fact capacity allocation exempt and their application process is a streamlined one.

Once completed, this project will represent the largest single commercial rooftop solar power installation project in Canada. The installation of rooftop solar panels at 63 The Home Depot locations will produce at least 21 megawatts of power, enough to power 7,500 Ontario homes. Projects such as this are also driving the creation of green jobs in the province.

In addition to the solar project, we have made significant progress towards improving energy efficiency at stores in the following ways:

  • Retrofitting stores with T5 fluorescent light fixtures to save over 180,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 128 metric tonnes a year per store
  • Replacing light displays with low wattage bulbs to reduce 145 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions to-date
  • Replacing 50 per cent of store neon building signs with energy efficient LEDs
  • Automatically turning off lighting displays and half of the store ceiling lights when temperatures rise above 30°C in  municipalities to save 90 kWh per store every hour when in effect
  • Building three LEED®-Certified stores, which save on average 157,680 kWh of energy annually, based on a 12 hour workday. The Pickering LEED®-Certified store is also 50% powered by Bullfrog Power.
  • Annually $3.5 million in products is diverted from landfills across the country though our partnership with Habitat Humanity ReStores

Six Month Update

Challenge

The Home Depot Canada’s challenge is to reduce current energy and greenhouse gas emissions to ensure that our stores are operating efficiently. We have set specific targets of 20 percent reduction in Canadian store energy use and 20 percent reduction in Greenhouse Gas Emissions from our domestic supply change by 2015. Further to ensure we are maintaining our metrics we are embarking on calculating a comprehensive carbon footprint on how we operate using the World Resources Institute and World Business Council for Sustainable Development protocol.

Strategies

1)      Systematically review our energy needs on a store by store basis and improve efficiencies through lighting controls, energy management systems and HVAC upgrades.

2)      Leverage the supply chain transformation improvements to ensure greater efficiency in routing, scheduling and the consolidation of shipments to stores.

Results

While we are on-track to meet our targets for energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions through efficiency programs, the great part of this project is that it has been a license to empower all of our associates to help us focuses on sustainability.  As a result, there have been series of positive initiatives beyond our target decreases.. Some examples are:

-          Since 2005 we have reduced the Canadian store energy use by 220 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) and are on target to meet our 2015 objectives.

-          We ensure that the majority of our parking lot lighting is shut off one hour after store closing and while maintaining proper security lighting. This has further led us to testing solar and wind powered LED parking lot lighting to increase energy efficiency.

-          We are testing the addition of free hybrid car plug in units for those consumers who need to re-charge their cars.

-          Our “The Home Depot” illuminated signs now use LED lighting to help improve energy efficiency.

-          Our associates have developed a “smart energy” handbook for all of our stores to ensure that we are mindful about how we use our resources.

-          Our store landscaping programs feature the use of environmentally friendly grass and weed maintenance. In addition, during our new store construction or parking lot resurfacing, we are reducing the number of parking spaces required which then reduces any unnecessary  surface space and adds more green space to our property.