Building Trades

New Big Y Store Remodels Focus on Sustainability

Food for Thought

Big Y has been making significant strides in enhancing its stores across the region. Since 2022, the company has celebrated the grand reopening of 26 remodeled stores, which align with the company’s broader strategy to focus on sustainability and modernize retail spaces to create a more enjoyable shopping experience for both customers and associates.

The new store design incorporates modern elements to inspire guests and reflect each store’s local community. The remodeled stores have been strategically laid out to benefit both shoppers and associates, streamlining operations and creating a more pleasant environment, said Maggie D’Amour, senior manager of Environmental Social Governance.

“Whenever we remodel or build new stores, we always try to upgrade to energy-efficient equipment, motors, refrigeration systems, etc.,” she explained. “Big Y’s commitment to sustainability and community-focused design is evident in these remodels. As we continue to invest in our stores, we aim to meet customers wherever they are, providing a modern, highly connected shopping experience.”

These energy-efficiency-focused upgrades across Connecticut and Massachusetts have included high-efficiency rooftop and refrigeration systems, interior and exterior LED lighting (95% of stores), light-dimming systems, Energy Star-certified equipment, building energy-management systems, night curtains or glass-door retrofits on open refrigerated cases, high-efficiency motors, capture and utilization of waste heat, cycling anti-sweat heaters, waterless urinals, low-flow water controls on sinks, and energy-efficient hand dryers.

“Big Y’s commitment to sustainability and community-focused design is evident in these remodels. As we continue to invest in our stores, we aim to meet customers wherever they are, providing a modern, highly connected shopping experience.”

As a result, the stores are now saving 9.3 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, the equivalent of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions by removing 840 gasoline-powered vehicles from area roads for a year.

In addition to the remodeled stores, Big Y also installed a 1.4-megawatt solar array on the rooftop of its Fresh and Local Distribution Center in Springfield. The installation is comprised of 3,100 solar panels, and the renewable energy generated by the system will offset about 70% of the distribution center’s electric requirements.

Expanded in 2021, Big Y’s Fresh and Local Distribution Center provides local farmers and food producers with an efficient, one-stop location that saves them time and money as they don’t need to deliver to individual stores. In addition to supporting communities, farms, and other small businesses, it saves travel time, thus cutting down on greenhouse-gas emissions. It also serves as a hub for all fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the year.

Over the past three years, there has been a company-wide effort to be earth-friendly, with initiatives demonstrating a commitment to expanding solar-energy adoption and addressing environmental challenges. Overall, these changes have reduced the company’s total energy consumption by more than 17,800,000 kilowatt-hours.

The new solar panels are in addition to more than four megawatts of ground-mounted and rooftop arrays installed at several store locations. The company also participates in more than 10 community solar-array projects, creating solar production equivalent to annual C02 emissions from 5,142,780 gallons of gasoline consumed, 8,893 homes’ electricity use for one year, or 105,814 barrels of oil consumed.

Food waste is another major initiative for the grocery chain. Throughout the year, Big Y makes daily donations of meat, fresh produce, and bakery products, along with grocery, frozen food, and dairy items, to four food banks within its two-state marketing area. These donations not only help keep food waste out of landfills, it also helps maximize access to nutritious food and other resources that support food security for those at risk of hunger.