Whole Foods Market doesn’t subscribe to “do not disturb” and Hilton Worldwide is "chomping at the bit" to accelerate its healthy consumption path

By Kathy Loftus, Global Leader, Sustainable Facilities, Whole Foods Market on Feb 17, 2016

And it is evident by the partnership we’ve begun in the Better Buildings Challenge SWAP.

Whole Foods Market is a company that is well aware of the impact that energy efficiency in commercial buildings can have in protecting the environment and saving billions of dollars in energy costs for the U.S. The company is committed to practice and advance environmental stewardship through its global communities leadership and positive practices in business in general. The team at Whole Foods Market also knows to stay at the top of the leader board, you sometimes need a little bit of a push to go even further.

That is why our team was thrilled to step outside our typical day-to-day experience and participate in the U.S. Department of Energy’s inaugural Better Buildings Challenge SWAP with Hilton Worldwide. We went into the SWAP eager to learn inter-industry lessons while also displaying our own energy management leadership that the DOE is amplifying across the country.

And that’s exactly what we did.

Hilton Worldwide examined our Whole Foods Ocean Avenue store, and our Whole Foods Market team reviewed the systems at Hilton San Francisco Union Square, uncovering new ways to save energy in buildings entirely different from our own. In the end we found many similarities between our approaches to energy management and the challenges we face when striving to make our facilities the most energy efficient we can.  The journey and results have been produced into a three episode web series and technical videos accessible to a wide audience.

I’m not going to say that the experience was easy--our facility was in another partner’s hands, and vice versa. But what we found was two buildings that at first appeared to have little in common – Hilton San Francisco Union Square is a whopping 1.8 million sq. feet, compared to our 25,000 sq. foot Ocean Avenue store. And in the end our facilities were more the same than different and could both be doing even more to save energy. Even if five of our stores fit in a single Hilton ballroom.

As Whole Foods Market works to launch the nation’s first zero-net energy grocery store, we’re very proud to have participated in the first Better Buildings Challenge SWAP with Hilton Worldwide, and look forward to seeing future SWAPs and their sharing of expertise in the years to come. Thanks to the SWAP, companies like ours can open our doors and showcase the accomplishments that we’re proud of, with peers who appreciate and understand our work, but whom we likely wouldn’t cross paths with otherwise.  And, we can have fun with our work, sharing the passion our teams bring from satisfying and delighting customers to moving industry to become more energy productive!