Wal-Mart Canada has opened its first sustainable fresh food distribution centre, designed to be around 60% more energy-efficient than its traditional facilities.

The retail giant said today (17 November) that it hopes the US$115m Balzac centre will help the company avoid around US$4.8m in energy costs over five years.

As well as including the company’s first pilots of hydrogen fuel cells, solar thermal and wind power, the 400,000sq ft facility also features LED lighting, smart refrigeration and high efficiency dock doors and doorways.

Andy Ellis, Walmart Canada’s SVP of Supply Chain and Logistics said: “Our sustainable distribution centre showcases the immediate business returns of investing in green innovations and the positive impact of a sustainability mindset through all phases of a project.

“This living lab of sustainability is supporting the expansion of our modern Supercentre format while also helping us get closer to meeting our long-term sustainability goals. The successful completion of this ambitious project supports our long-held belief that environmental and business sustainability can go hand-in-hand.”

The facility will service 104 of the company’s stores in Western Canada. It will be operated by Supply Chain Management, a third-party logistics provider and will employ around 600 staff.