Macy’s announces energy-saving moves, including rollout of LED accent lighting

Cincinnati Macy’s has begun construction on a 3.5-megawatt high-efficiency solar power system on the roof of its online fulfillment center in Goodyear, Ariz. When completed in March 2011, the installation is expected to be the largest solar power system on a single rooftop in the United States. In other energy-saving moves, Macy’s has become the first department store company to implement the use of LED accent lighting on a wide scale.

The solar system in Goodyear is being designed and installed by SunPower, which will provide ongoing operations and maintenance services. The installation is expected to offset more than 3,500 tons of carbon dioxide per year, the equivalent of removing 18,204 cars from Arizona’s highways over the 30-year life of the system.

On the lighting front, Macy’s will replace 117,000 incandescent lamps in 86 stores with LED lamps that use roughly 73% less energy. Total energy savings are estimated at about 16,200 megawatts per hour every year. In addition, the LEDs have an expected life of five to 10 years (compared with less than one year for traditional bulbs), thereby reducing landfill disposal.

The solar system and lighting retrofit are two of four energy-saving initiatives announced by Macy’s on Tuesday. The chain also said installation has been completed on a 1-megawatt solar power system on the roof of its distribution center in City of Industry, Calif. Already, nearly 50% of the facility’s electricity use is being generated by its rooftop system, which also was designed and installed by SunPower.

With this installation, Macy’s now hosts solar power panels on the roofs of 37 of its facilities nationwide. New solar power installations are helping the company to achieve its goal of hosting 15% to 25% more renewable energy sources by 2013. The retailer is driving to reduce total energy consumption (on a kilowatt-per-square-foot basis) by about 30% over an 11-year period (2003 to 2013).

Macy’s also said has eliminated bottled water for internal use in its office facilities, and is providing water filtration units from which its associates can fill their own reusable containers. The move is designed to reduce the chain’s impact on the waste stream.