Hannaford Store Vies for Living Building Challenge Core Certification

Augusta, Maine, location has advanced sustainable retail operations since 2009
Bridget Goldschmidt
Managing Editor
Bridget Goldschmidt profile picture
Hannaford Augusta Maine Cony Street Store Energy Efficiency Signage Main Image
Hannaford's Cony Street store, in Augusta, Maine, includes signage calling out its energy-efficient features.

An Augusta, Maine, Hannaford store that pioneered sustainable construction back in 2009 will now pursue the Living Building Challenge Core green building certification, an advanced set of sustainability standards created by the Seattle-based International Living Future Institute. The certification looks into how a building and its operations support ecology, community and energy efficiency to enable a sustainable future. Hannaford’s Cony Street store was the first supermarket in North America to achieve Platinum status in the LEED for Retail rating system for its eco-friendly, energy-saving features, systems and materials. 

“This new standard elevates considerations like the store’s fit with nature; its commitment to community, inclusiveness, equity and good jobs; and it also keeps the bar high for carbon reduction, responsible water use, and responsible materials,” noted George Parmenter, Hannaford Supermarkets’ sustainability lead. “We’re excited to embark on this journey and thank the Cony Street associates who are making this possible through their daily actions and commitment to advancing the health, wellness and sustainability of our community.” 

[Read more: “How Hannaford Is Enhancing Overall Shopping Experience”]

To make the store even more sustainable, the grocer joined forces with the Portland, Maine, office of global engineering consulting firm Thornton Tomasetti, which suggested pursuing the Living Building Challenge Core certification. 

“The Core rating system is one of the most robust sustainability frameworks available,” observed Heather Walters, VP in Thornton Tomasetti’s sustainability practice. “With a requirement to meet each of 10 imperatives, the system goes beyond energy and water efficiency. The system recognizes holistic sustainability and commitment to the community, which made it a great fit for Hannaford.” 

The 10 imperatives denoting best practices for sustainable buildings include standards for responsible water use through the installation of low-flow fixtures, iceless seafood displays, and native low-water plantings in the landscaping and on the store’s green roof. Hannaford’s Cony Street store also uses 70% less energy than a baseline building, making it the most energy-efficient store per square foot in the chain.

The location’s remodel prioritized the use of locally sourced, sustainable materials, with 20% of materials sourced within a 311-mile radius and 50% of wood incorporated into the design salvaged or certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. Additional salvaged materials from the existing building, including refurbished refrigerators and concrete floors, were reused when possible, and 80% of renovation waste was diverted from landfills and recycled.

Additionally, the store’s layout supports pedestrian-oriented communities with such features as bike storage, e-bike chargers and access to public transportation. An “education and inspiration” standard determines whether the location spurs action toward a greener future through community engagement that emphasizes equity and inclusion.

[Read more: "10 Most Sustainable Grocers"]

As the designation is mainly measured by daily operations, the store will be evaluated over the course of a year. Hannaford will know whether it has achieved the certification in fall 2024.

“The Cony Street store has always been about stretching ourselves to not only offer a convenient and enjoyable shopping experience, but to set a new standard that evolves the way retail operators and customers alike think about sustainable actions we can all take to better our environment and the community,” noted Ross Mosher, Hannaford’s director of retail capital development. “We are looking forward to this challenge and thank our customers for supporting and joining us on this journey.”

Since its opening, the Cony Street store has served as a sustainability incubator for Hannaford, including through its early use of energy-saving LED lights. Among the grocer’s other sustainability initiatives, it has pledged that all of its stores will be entirely powered by renewable energy by 2024, and the locations are working to meet a net-zero carbon emissions goal by 2040.

Scarborough, Maine-based Hannaford operates 187 stores in Maine, New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont, and employs nearly 30,000 associates. Parent company Ahold Delhaize USA, a division of Zaandam, Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize, is No. 10 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. PG also named the company one of its Retailers of the Century and its 10 Most Sustainable Grocers.

More Grocery Business News