Wal-Mart Opens Green Supercenter in Texas

We at TreeHugger admit to posting more than our fair share of wind turbine photos lately. This one deserves special notice, however, as it is part of the experimental Wal-mart Supercenter store that just opened in McKinney, Texas. The experimental design elements include a nice menu of resource saving (cost cutting of course) measures. Some naturalizing is included. From the press release: "Wal-Mart has contracted with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory to provide testing and analysis on store systems and materials, based on national scientific measurements and standards, for a period of three years". Having a good data set to back design change arguments is critical and we're glad to see it covered. This project takes it to the next level however. More below the fold.The most impressive thing in the press release is this statement. "Sharing the results of the store’s experiments with the rest of the retail and development industry could turn low-volume, rare technologies into industry standards. Wal-Mart hopes to learn new environmental conservation best management practices and benchmarks that will serve as future design standards in the retail industry when it comes to land development and building construction".

TreeHugger suggests you have a look at the photos that are a free download with the press kit.

A startup green design or retail outfit will never have enough capital to do this kind of experimentation and study. Nor will it have the brand recognition to get mainstream media attention for a building project. That's why its so important that the big players get involved in driving change, opening public dialog on the work to keep credibilty up. Eventually we might see small strip mall developers become influenced by these ideas. To spread them far and wide, we need zoning code changes that codify the basics and leave enough flexibility for green dreamers to come up with their own design variants.

What's next we wonder? Maybe our earlier speculations about organic clothing lines or even local produce coming to the big chains had more plausibility than we thought.