Star Market, Chestnut Hill, Mass.

Star Light, Star Bright: Can LEDs now light an entire store? SuperValu says yes with its new Star Market flagship.
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Posted March 23, 2010
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SuperValu Inc. (Eden Prairie, Minn.), the supermarket operator that has been out front in the green build movement, has added another color to its chest full of medals.

The winner of gold and silver certification from LEED has built the first supermarket in the nation to receive a GreenChill platinum award from the Environmental Protection Agency for energy-saving refrigeration technology. The new Star Market in Chestnut Hill, Mass., a flagship store for the company’s Shaw’s/Star Market division, is also the first supermarket in the nation to use all LEDs for its interior and exterior lighting.
“We intended this to be New England’s new standard for sustainable supermarkets,” says Holly Angell, SuperValu’s director of technology, energy and environmental.

The environmentally friendly touches fill this store, a 53,514-square-foot, two-level space that is a grounds-up replacement of a smaller, 50-year-old market.

For example, the LED lighting will allow for an anticipated reduction of at least 50 percent in energy consumption. And these LED fixtures are expected to be maintenance-free for a minimum of five years. “The light output and quality are also maintained throughout the fixture life,” says Angell, “which is an additional benefit that’s often overlooked.”

New technology also allowed the retailer to dim these lights an additional 25 to 30 percent. And, in addition to saving energy, “LED lights provide a calming sensation with no flickering, hum or eye-straining ultraviolet light,” says creative design manager Harry Steen.

The award-winning green refrigeration technology allowed the refrigerant charge to be reduced by more than 90 percent, using just 275 pounds of refrigerant (versus the typical 3000-4000 pounds). Also, this is just the second store in the nation to use an onsite 400kw combined heat and power fuel cell for 90 percent of the store’s energy. The fuel cell is virtually pollution-free and independent of the local power grid.

Angell says the cell “reforms natural gas to a rich hydrogen gas to feed the fuel cell stack. The stack takes the hydrogen gas and oxygen from the air, which are combined in an electrochemical process that creates power, water and heat. We also use the heat in the summer in an absorption chiller process. It takes the hot water from the fuel cell and creates cold, which improves the efficiency of our air conditioning system.”

Other sustainable strategies include motorized night curtains, a hybrid water cooling tower and motion-activated light sensors.

But designers never forgot that they were building and lighting a store as much as developing energy-saving breakthroughs. Natural materials and finishes, including textured metal walls and custom wood display fixtures, give the store a friendly neighborhood market feel. And the refrigerated cases feature stainless steel accents with black finishing inside and out to make the product pop dramatically.

Then there is the store’s hallmark fixture, a 40-foot custom stainless-steel circular foodservice counter, anchored by a herringbone brick pizza oven. It serves as a focal point for shoppers, offering stir-fried pasta, rotisserie chicken and other specialty items.

And while the LED lighting saves energy, it also provides what Steen refers to as “a theatrical glow that enhances the store’s fresh offerings.” And it provides excellent color rendering.

“Ultimately,” he says, “the design and the technology are backdrops for the shopping experience, not the stars of the show.”

Project Participants:

Client
SuperValu Inc., Eden Prarie, Minn.: Mike Witynski, president, Shaw’s, a division of SuperValu; Ken Mahtesian, senior project manager, Shaw’s, a division of SuperValu; Holly Angell, director of criteria and engineering, SuperValu; Larry Meeker, senior manager of criteria mechanical systems, SuperValu; Troy Bingham, senior project engineer, mechanical systems, SuperValu

Design Firm
SuperValu Store Design Services, Eden Prairie, Minn.: Sharon Lessard, vp; Joseph Armas, director of store planning – Retail East; John Andrews, manager of store planning; Armand Barrette, manager of store merchandising; John DeMarco, store planner; Harry Steen, creative design manager; Molly Cook, manager of environment design; Katie Erickson, interior designer; Maria Jansma, interior design drafter

Architect
Yarosh Associates, Mashpee, Mass.

Outside Design Consultants:
Chapin Associates, Norwood, Mass. (structural engineering)
DC Engineering, Meridian, Idaho (electrical engineering)
Richard B. Gramlich, P.E., Largo, Fla. (mechanical engineering)
Protection Consultants, Centerville, Utah (fire protection engineering)
CTA Architects Engineers, Billings, Mont. (refrigeration)
Aztec Energy Partners, Conyers, Ga. (energy consultation)

General Contractor
Suffolk Construction, Boston

Air Conditioning and Water Cooling Tower
Munters, Amesbury, Mass.

Bakery Display and Cases
Structural Concepts, Muskegon, Mich.

Gondolas and Shelving
Lozier, Omaha, Neb.

Lighting
Accuity Lighting, Conyers, Ga.
Amerlux Lighting, Fairfield, N.J.
Beta LED Lighting, Sturtevant, Wis.
Sylvania Lighting, Danvers, Mass.
SPI Lighting, Mequon, Wis.

Millwork, Service Counters, Signage and Decor
DGS Retail, Mansfield, Mass.

Produce, Meat and Dairy Refrigerated Cases
Hill-Phoenix, Conyers, Ga.

Refrigerated Cases and Specialty Food Service Counters
Southern Store Fixtures, Bessemer, Ala.

Smallwares
Hubert, Harrison, Ohio

Wireless Sensors
Refrigeration Innovation, Woodland, Calif.