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    AAFES Goes "Green"

    From its vending operations to its quick service restaurants and convenience stores, the organization's retail outlets are implementing Earth-friendly initiatives.

    DALLAS -- The Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES), a retail organization under the Department of Defense, is launching a variety of energy-saving initiatives at its retail outlets, including its Shoppette convenience stores, in an effort to reduce its impact on the environment and offer conservation benefits to its military families, the company stated.

    "AAFES is a global retailer with more than 3,100 facilities in some 30 countries," AAFES' energy program manager Ann Scott said in a statement. "Considering the size and scope of our mission, it makes sense to evaluate every possible 'green' option available. Fortunately, new opportunities to save energy and increase earnings are growing every day."

    Historically, the organization's fast food facilities, main exchanges and Shoppettes made up the majority of energy consumption, according to the company.

    Shoppettes' gas islands require constant lighting, and the fixtures in the canopies can easily consume 6,000 watts of electricity with standard lighting. To save energy, AAFES is testing a new generation of energy efficient fixtures, which has yielded savings of up 44 percent, according to the company.

    In addition, the company is reducing energy consumption in its vending operations by installing ENERGY STAR beverage vending machines. AAFES maintains a goal of having at least 10 percent of their 21,000 beverage machines ENERGY STAR compliant before the end of 2008, the company stated.

    By expanding its ENERGY STAR beverage vending machines from the 1,664 currently in place to 2,264, AAFES' annual savings is projected to reach more than $42,000 once the 10 percent target is met, the company stated.

    "Drinks stay cold, less energy is used and AAFES is able to return the savings to the annual dividend this command annually provides to the military community," AAFES' Commander Brigadier General Keith Thurgood said in a statement. "It's smart business decisions like this that will make it possible for AAFES to deliver even more in the coming decade than the $2.4 billion it provided the Armed Forces in the past 10 years."

    AAFES is also partnering with a number of name-brand franchises to reduce energy consumption at its quick service restaurant offerings. Taco Bell, Burger King and Subway are a few of AAFES' partners that are launching solutions such as adjustable HVAC systems, which run based on need vs. a constant rate, eco-friendly building designs, LED menu boards and energy efficient refrigeration and heating methods, according to the company.

    In addition, AAFES began an aggressive training program in August 2007 to assist energy-conscious customers at its main stores. An ongoing ENERGY STAR awareness campaign is branching out beyond appliances and electronics, to a 20 percent mix of compact fluorescent lighting (CFL) options that use less energy and have a longer-rated life than conventional light bulbs, the company stated.

    CFL purchases at AAFES have grown from 8.2 percent of retail lighting sales in 2006 to 10 percent in 2007, according to the company.

    "The CFL initiative is consistent with the military's goal to cut energy costs and protect the environment," Maggie Burgess, AAFES' senior vice president of sales, said in a statement. "Compact florescent bulbs will go a long way in meeting these objectives as they use 75 percent less energy than standard lighting and last up to 10 times longer."

    "Cleaning up the environment begins at home. For AAFES facilities residing on Army and Air Force installations across the globe, 'home' is the military community," said Thurgood. "As such, I'm excited about the steps AAFES is taking to make the 'homes' we share with military families better places to live, work and, of course, shop thanks to reduced energy consumption, increased dividends and a better quality of life."

    For more information on retailers' "green" efforts, see Convenience Store News' Feb. 4, 2008, cover story, titled "Get Green." And, for an in-depth look at Rutter's new Earth-friendly initiatives, click the following link:

    Rutter's: A Green Evolution

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