United Natural Foods, Inc. Completes Solar Project and Plans for LED Upgrades; Sandy Douglas Details
PROVIDENCE, RI - It’s lit at United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI)—literally. The distributor is wielding advanced lighting technology to make several improvements to its operations. First, UNFI completed its largest solar array investment to date at its Howell, New Jersey, distribution center. The company will also complete LED energy lighting upgrades at 33 distribution centers that are estimated to save approximately $15 million over a 10-year period.
“Energy efficiency is an important focus area for our Better for All Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) strategy and we are excited to see the Howell solar array come online,” said UNFI Chief Executive Officer Sandy Douglas. “This newest solar array, coupled with our current LED lighting projects at a majority of our distribution centers are expected to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions year-over-year and represent a milestone on our path to building a food system that is better for our people, communities, and the planet. These efforts are also expected to reduce our operational costs and help us become more efficient, and that’s a positive for our business.”
The 3.2-megawatt roof-mounted solar array is the company’s eighth solar installation and is nearly three times larger than any previous UNFI installation, according to a press release. The array contains 7,171 solar panels and was developed to generate an amount of renewable electricity approximately equivalent to the annualized energy demand at the Howell distribution center.
The system is projected to generate an estimated 3.8-million-kilowatt hours of electricity per year, preventing approximately 2,700 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent from being released into the atmosphere annually. UNFI worked with PowerFlex to complete the installation of the Howell solar array.
UNFI is also on track to finish retrofitting 33 of its distribution centers built before 2002 with the latest LED lighting by the end of UNFI’s current fiscal year. They provide a longer lifespan and operate at lower temperatures versus conventional lighting. Upon project completion, all 56 of UNFI’s distribution centers will have LED lighting, which is anticipated to save the company nearly 2 million kilowatt hours of electricity usage per year, the release noted.
For more from UNFI, check out the press release here.
We can’t wait to see what else is in store for this foodservice distributor.