The latest addition to the family at PCC Natural Markets has made headlines for its environmental and sustainable aspects.

PCC Natural Markets, which has nine locations in the greater Seattle area, opened its newest store, a 24,000-square-foot operation, last September in Edmonds, Wash.

The retail store was built to gain LEED Platinum status under standards put forth by the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

During the construction process and into its operation, the store was built to maximize efficiency and minimize waste, said Joe Hardiman, produce merchandiser for PCC Natural Markets.

“We recycle the rainwater there for irrigation purposes,” Hardiman said.

“In the produce department, we have energy-saving windows that bring extra light into the area,” he added. “We use filtered water in the misters and there are energy saving components in the cooling system.”

When taken together, all the energy saving aspects of the operation are estimated to be 50% better than industry standards, according to PCC’s Web site.

Turn your lamplight low

To contribute to energy efficiency, the store has 35 skylights to provide natural lighting. The windows have a special glaze that allows 65% of visible light to enter, while simultaneously blocking out 64% of the sun’s heat, according to the site.

When sunlight is bright enough, daylight sensors dim the electric lights to reduce energy use. Both fluorescent and ceramic metal halide lighting is used throughout the store. The store achieves its lighting at only 0.7 watts per square foot for general lighting, or 24% less than required by Washington’s state energy code, according to the site. Accent lighting uses only 0.4 watts per square foot, or 33% less than code.

Heating and cooling

Throughout the store, a single refrigerant loop connects the space heating, hot water heating and refrigeration systems, meaning that waste heat from refrigeration is used for the other functions.

All systems that consume energy throughout the store have sensors to measure and monitor actual usage in real time.