Home improvement giant The Home Depot recently announced that energy efficiency measures taken at U.S. stores have led to a reduction of energy use by 2.6 billion kWh since 2004. The company also reaffirmed its commitment to reducing its energy use by 20 percent per square foot in the next five years. If you’ve never been to one of their stores, they are massive shells filled with a variety of home improvement products. I can’t even begin to imagine how much energy these stores use so I applaud The Home Depot for working to improve energy efficiency across the board.

The 2.6 billion kWh reduction in energy use since 2004 is equal to a 16 percent overall reduction. In 2004, each store used approximately 25 kWh per square foot. By upgrading the store’s HVAC systems, moving stocking hours closer to actual store operating hours, and using CFL bulbs and T5 lighting, the energy usage is now at 21 kWh per square foot. The 2.6 billion kWh of energy saved in the past six years would power more than 200,000 homes for one year.

Although this 2.6 billion kWh reduction is a good first step, The Home Depot isn’t stopping. Their ultimate goal is to reach 20 kWh per square foot by 2015, a 20 percent reduction overall. In order to achieve this next goal, the company plans to lower the wattage of in-store lighting from 54 to 49 watts, perform more HVAC upgrades, and install reflective roofing products.

In addition to reduce the energy use at its retail stores, the company is also working to reduce domestic supply chain greenhouse bag emissions by 20 percent over the next five years. The company is working on a 2008 figure as its baseline for measuring this reduction.

In order to achieve this supply chain GHG emission reduction, the company will be utilizing more efficient delivery routing and scheduling and consolidate shipments. The Home Depot expects that these measures will reduce company miles by 200 million miles per year, which will save approximately 25 million gallons of gasoline.

These measures will help the company in reducing their overall carbon footprint. The Home Depot is in the process of calculating their current carbon footprint using the World Resources Institute and World Business Council for Sustainable Development protocol. The company expects to have the results available in approximately one year.

The Home Depot’s energy efficiency upgrades will help reduce their overall carbon footprint, save the company money on its annual energy bills, and ultimately reduce America’s building-based greenhouse gas emissions.

Photo: PRNewsFoto/The Home Depot