Sustainable Energy

Is this the greenest supermarket in the world?

Anmar Frangoul | Special to
How to make supermarkets greener

While detractors see them as eyesores, supporters of wind turbines see them as a clean, sustainable and crucial part of efforts to transform the way we produce energy.

In Manhattan, one company is using a combination of wind and solar technology to transform the urban landscape and boost the use of renewable energy for the city.

Urban Green Energy's (UGE) Sanya Skypump electric car charging stations – a collaboration between General Electric and UGE, which uses wind and solar – have been installed at a Brooklyn branch of Whole Foods Market, while the store is also lit up by UGE's Sanya SLS streetlights, which also use wind and solar as power sources.

The combination of two renewable power sources is crucial to UGE's technology and way of thinking when it comes to powering cities, where space is often at a premium.

UGE has installed projects across the world, including two of its VisionAIR5 wind turbines on the Eifell Tower in Paris in February 2015. According to UGE, the turbines will generate more than 10,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually.

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"There's two real benefits of combining the technologies together," Nick Blitterswyk, CEO and co-founder of UGE, told CNBC's Sustainable Energy.

"The first one is resiliency. So, using the two technologies gives you power, really, all times of the day, all times of the year," he added. "The second one is (that) we're able to bring together more energy into one given location, which also helps in such a tightly spaced area."

UGE has also developed a system which allows users to monitor their energy remotely via mobile devices and laptops, enabling them to see when their energy usage is at its greatest and get information about how much energy they are contributing to either the grid or their own storage system.

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For Sam Fishman, the Store Team Leader at the Whole Foods Market, the benefits of using renewable technology have not just been felt in the environment. "The wind turbines, Skypumps and solar panels actually draw people into our store," Fishman said.

"They see it from far away and they're intrigued, they want to see what's going on over here, and (then) they find out that it's a Whole Foods Market and we're utilizing sustainable energy, so they're extra happy about that," he added.

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