How Home Depot is Protecting the Climate

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KnowESG_Home Depot
Image courtesy of https://corporate.homedepot.com/

Running Home Depot stores more efficiently furthers both its business and sustainability goals. In 2021, the company hit key milestones, including achieving a 50% decrease in U.S. store electricity use since 2010.

When the company launched its store electricity conservation efforts a few years ago, it anticipated reducing U.S. store electricity use by 20% over a decade.

However, by using technologies and closely monitoring and analysing usage, it was able to save more electricity than originally anticipated. In 2021, the company achieved a reduction of approximately 11% in year-over-year U.S. store electricity use.

The company learned a great deal from the progress made in reducing electricity use in its stores. It is now applying its experience and proven strategies to conserve resources in other areas of the business, such as electricity use in its supply chain and water use in store irrigation.

The company's successful energy conservation efforts have brought it closer to its goal of producing or procuring 100% renewable electricity equivalent to the electricity needs for all Home Depot facilities worldwide by 2030.

The use of LEDs helped reduce store electricity usage

In 2021, the company completed its multi-year project of upgrading U.S. stores to overhead LED lighting, with 383 stores retrofitted in that year alone. Currently, LEDs light up almost all store aisles across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

The company has invested approximately $230 million in total capital expenditures on LED upgrades since 2018 in the U.S. Stores with LEDs in the U.S. consume about 30% less electricity than similar stores with conventional lighting.

Capitalising on the evolution of solar power

The company recognises the importance of harnessing power from the sun to achieve its goals for renewable electricity, and it is making progress in this regard by procuring electricity from large-scale commercial solar farms.

In 2021, it began purchasing 75 megawatts of renewable electricity from Enel Green Power's Azure Sky, which operates in Haskell County, Texas, west of Dallas. The company has also agreed to buy an additional 150 megawatts from other companies building solar farms in Texas. Once operational, these commercial solar farms, combined with the company's wind farm projects, are expected to generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of more than 500 Home Depot stores.

Harvesting renewable energy through rooftop solar

The company recognised the potential to use the large, soccer-field-size space atop its stores to harness solar energy and installed its first rooftop solar farm in 2014. As of the end of 2021, it had installed solar farms on 76 Home Depot stores and one distribution centre in the U.S.

In 2022, the company is placing an increased emphasis on rooftop solar by expanding the amount of roof space allocated to solar panels at its stores and exploring the possibility of adding solar panels on more distribution facilities.

Water use decreased through the implementation of smart irrigation

In 2019, the company launched a pilot programme to explore the potential of using smart irrigation systems to reduce water usage at its stores. Following successful results, the technology was implemented in an additional 164 stores in 2021, bringing the total number of U.S. stores using smart irrigation systems to 503 by the end of the year. On average, these stores have experienced a 29% reduction in water usage for landscape irrigation compared to those using traditional timer-based irrigation systems.

The smart irrigation system operates through the use of in-ground sensors, real-time weather data, and other data sources to determine the appropriate timing and duration of sprinkler operation for landscaped areas. This system ensures that plants are watered according to their specific needs, rather than a fixed schedule, resulting in reduced water consumption.

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Source: Home Depot

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