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Amazon aims for a zero carbon grocery store with newest Amazon Fresh opening in Seattle

The new Amazon Fresh location in Seattle will feature electric vehicle charging stations for use by customers as part of efforts to promote sustainability at the location. (Amazon Photo)

Amazon is opening the doors Thursday on its latest Amazon Fresh location in Seattle, and ushering in a new benchmark for sustainability in grocery stores.

The 35,000-square-foot store in a shopping plaza at 13201 Aurora Ave. N. is the world’s first grocery store to pursue zero-carbon certification from the International Living Future Institute (ILFI), according to Amazon, which discusses the store opening in a blog post.

Sustainable store upgrades and features are meant to contribute to Amazon’s effort to meet The Climate Pledge, which is the company’s commitment to be a net-zero carbon business by 2040.

Some of those features include:

  • CO2-based refrigeration system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Lower carbon concrete flooring. 
  • Fully electric kitchen space.
  • Added doors on most refrigeration cases to reduce energy consumption.
  • Free electric vehicle charging for customers.
  • 100% renewable electricity throughout store.
The kitchen space where Amazon prepares food will be fully electric at the new Amazon Fresh. (Amazon Photo)

Amazon said the new store will save nearly 185 tons of CO2 each year when compared to an industry-standard grocery store — a calculation it arrived at via the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator.

ILFI is a nonprofit dedicated to advancing sustainable building practices and many of the practices Amazon has undertaken meet the organization’s requirement for zero carbon certification. ILFI will review 12 consecutive months of performance data to ensure the new store meets the standard.

“As the world’s first grocer seeking zero carbon certification, this approach represents an important benchmark for the grocery sector and the retailers overall,” Lindsay Baker, CEO of the International Living Future Institute, said in a statement.

Amazon Fresh is part of Amazon’s fast-growing brick-and-mortar grocery expansion across the country, following its $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods in 2017, as it tries to take a bigger bite of the $750 billion U.S. grocery industry. The company is also building out its network of Amazon Go convenience stores, and still operates the Amazon Fresh delivery service.

Amazon earlier this month said it would close its bookstores, 4-star, and Pop Up retail outlets to focus on grocery and fashion.

The North Seattle location is the 26th Amazon Fresh grocery store in the U.S., fourth in the Seattle area, and 10th to feature the company’s “Just Walk Out” technology. With an array of overhead cameras and shelf sensors, the cashierless tech essentially enables shoppers to grab items and leave the store without standing in a checkout line. Just Walk Out is featured in locations in Bellevue, Wash., and Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, but not in the Fresh store on South Jackson Street in Seattle.

Another Fresh location is coming to The Commons shopping mall in Federal Way, Wash. Amazon did not provide any new details on when that store would be opening.

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