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Target Tests First Net Zero Energy Store in California

A revamped Target Corp. store in Vista, Calif. has been retrofitted to generate more renewable energy than it needs to operate each year, the retail giant announced Thursday.

The pilot location will test multiple innovations to reduce the building’s emissions and inform investments in new stores and remodel programs toward Target’s long-term growth and sustainability goals. The store will generate renewable energy through 3,420 solar panels across its roof and newly installed carport canopies.

The site is expected to produce up to a 10 percent energy surplus each year that it can transmit back to the local power grid, and Target has applied for net zero energy certification from the International Living Future Institute. The building also features elements to further reduce emissions, such as powering its HVAC heating through rooftop solar panels, instead of natural gas.

In addition, the store switched to carbon dioxide refrigeration, a natural refrigerant, that Target will scale chainwide by 2040 to reduce its direct operations’ emissions by 20 percent. Minneapolis-based Target has nearly 2,000 stores.

“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 at Target. “Our new stores and remodel programs are designed to help achieve our sustainability goals as we test, learn and scale our innovations over time across our operations.”

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Target is building on the many ways it innovates through its stores and facilities to support the company’s sustainability strategy, Target Forward. The retailer has committed to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions companywide by 2040, and since 2017 has reduced its direct operations’ emissions by alomost 27 percent. One of the ways it intends to reach its net zero goal is through sourcing 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources for its operations by 2030.

Target’s offsite solar and wind energy contracts are helping it move quickly toward its renewable energy goal, as it has secured additional partnerships that will allow it to purchase nearly half of its electricity from renewable sources later this year. Target also conserves 10 percent of its stores’ total energy use by using LED lighting instead of conventional lighting.

More than 25 percent of Target’s facilities have rooftop solar, helping the company save millions annually in energy costs and reducing its emissions. Its Vista store is one of 542 Target buildings nationwide with solar installations.

The recycling, donations and composting operations at the Vista store, alongside Target’s other facilities, support the retailer’s goal to divert 90 percent of its U.S. operations’ waste away from landfills by 2030 as it aims for Zero Waste certification. Target is already diverting 80 percent of its operational waste. The Vista site also offers electric vehicle charging spaces, and the chain provides more than 1,350 spaces at 150 locations across more than 20 states.