Target launches its first net-zero store


Big box retailer Target is testing its first net-zero carbon emissions store as a model to bring sustainable solutions to its operations. Located in Vista, California, the store will generate energy provided by the 3,420 solar panels on its roof and carports. The store is expected to produce a surplus of 10%, enabling the store to send excess solar production back to the local power grid. Target has applied for net-zero certification from the International Living Future Institute.

Target fit its HVAC system to the solar array, rather than using the conventional method of burning natural gas. The store also switched to carbon dioxide refrigeration, a natural refrigerant. Target said it will scale its CO2 refrigerant use chain-wide by 2040, reducing emissions by 20%. LED lighting conserves the store’s energy use by roughly 10%.

“We’ve been working for years at Target to shift toward sourcing more renewable energy and further reducing our carbon footprint, and our Vista store’s retrofit is the next step in our sustainability journey and a glimpse of the future we’re working toward,” said John Conlin, senior vice president of properties, Target.

More than 25% of Target’s stores have solar arrays on their roofs.
Image: Target

The company’s sustainability strategy, called Target Forward, commits the retailer to net zero greenhouse gas emissions enterprise-wide by 2040. Since 2017, the company reports a reduction of emissions of 27%.

More than 25% of Target stores, about 542 locations, are topped with solar PV. The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) marks Target as the top US corporate onsite installer with 255MW of capacity installed.

“Target continues to be a top corporate solar user, and we’re excited to see Target double down on its clean energy commitments with new solar carports and energy efficient buildings through this innovative and sustainable retrofit,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO, Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). “We commend the Target team for their leadership and commitment to sustainable operations as the retailer continues to raise the bar for how companies can invest in their business and create a more sustainable future.”

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