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Retailers, DOE team up for greener buildings

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The retail industry’s budding efforts to make its stores more environmentally friendly recently received a boost in the form of technical assistance awards from the US Department of Energy to Best Buy, JC Penney, John Deere, Macy’s, SuperValu, Target and Whole Foods Market that are earmarked for the adoption of energy-saving technologies.

The awards are part of the DOE’s Net-Zero Energy Commercial Building Initiative. In total, 21 companies across the retail, financial and commercial real estate industries were awarded $15 million in technical assistance.

 “The Net-Zero Commercial Building Initiative is designed to achieve real, substantive change in commercial buildings,” said John Mizroch, DOE acting assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy, in a statement. “We must work together with the private sector to shape our practices and define cost-effective solutions.”

In 2007, commercial buildings consumed about 19% of U.S. energy and accounted for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions, according to the DOE.  

Each of the 21 private sector companies will have its design and facility management team work with DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and National Renewable Energy Laboratory to design, build, tune and operate at least one new prototype building and to retrofit an existing building project for 50% and 30% energy savings, respectively. 

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