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Retailers prepare for reduced summer lighting programs

Both Walmart Canada and Staples both announced their participation in Earth Hour this week. They also announced their reduced summer lighting programs.

Walmart is preparing for the rollout of its fifth reduced summer lighting program that will see Walmart Canada stores nationwide reduce their sales floor lighting summer-long when demand on the energy grid is at its highest.

"Our involvement in Earth Hour is symbolic of Walmart's wider commitment to reducing its environmental footprint," said Jim Thompson, Walmart Canada's Chief Operations Officer. "Looking at ways to reduce energy and waste from our business is part of the way we operate every day. We're taking bold steps within our business to achieve our ambitious sustainability goals while at the same time aggressively promoting environmental stewardship among our suppliers, customers and the business community at large."

Walmart is actively working towards three long-term sustainability goals globally and in Canada: 1. To produce zero waste; 2. To be powered 100 per cent by renewable energy; and 3. To sell products that sustain people and the environment.

STAPLES Canada, meanwhile, is also running its annual 'Lights Out' program again this summer, while now partnering with 'Take Back The Light' - a program that recycles light bulbs.

"Across Canada STAPLES' is taking a major initiative to reduce energy consumption. Sustainability is not only about recycling and buying earth friendly products, but making a lifestyle change," said Leigh Pearson, Environmental and Facilities manager for STAPLES Canada.

STAPLES' 'Lights-Out' program begins June 1, and lighting reduction will occur during daylight hours only and ends July 30. The 'Lights-Out' program will save energy by reducing the heat load in buildings, making it easier for the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems to keep buildings cool.

"In 2009 we changed the light bulbs in 80 locations from a 32w to a 25 w fluorescent bulb. The reduction in energy consumption on an annual basis is enough to power almost 400 homes for one year. Our goal is to complete the same amount in 2010," continued Pearson. STAPLES is recycling their light bulbs with the Recycling Council of Ontario, as 30-million mercury-containing lamps go to landfills every year.