The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) honored retailer REI for its leadership in energy efficiency during a tour of the company's energy-efficient distribution denter in Goodyear, Arizona, March 25.
A member of the DOE's Better Buildings Alliance, Kent, Wash.-based REI was recognized for making strides in its energy productivity goals at the Arizona DC, which supports 40 percent of the company's stores and employs more than 200 people. The DC has achieved annual energy savings of 18 percent and cost savings of $170,000 in its first two years of operation, on its way to becoming a net-zero energy consumption facility, the company said.
As part of the project, REI installed a 2.2-megawatt solar system that is expected to power the entire facility, eventually bringing REI's overall annual energy savings to 100%, company leaders said. The solar array covers 280,000 square feet of roof space, and the city of Goodyear's power station is adjacent to the facility, which the company says helps reduce energy loss through transmission.
REI has taken other steps to improve the facility's efficiency as well, including installing a robotic fulfillment system that streamlines and speeds operations. The omnichannel "one-touch" fulfillment system allows one person to process items eight times faster than at a typical distribution center by using robotic shuttles to move products, the company said.
REI joined DOE's Better Buildings Alliance in 2015. The program brings together commercial building owners to share energy efficiency best practices with peers in the retail sector.