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LA CROSSE, Wis. -- Kwik Trip Inc. has become an industry leader for its "green" initiatives, according to WisBusiness.com. In fact, nearly half of all the convenience stores in the United States that have qualified for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification are operated by the retailer, based here.
The company has constructed 12 such stores and has 14 more in the planning stages.
The benefits of going green are twofold, David Ring, Kwik Trip's community relations coordinator, told WisBusiness.com. "There's certainly a balanced approach," he said. "What makes sense for the environment, and is it the right thing to do?"
As for the economic benefits, Leah Nicklaus Berlin, development coordinator for Kwik Trip, said money saved via green initiatives pays back for the original upgrade in less than five years. “Anything under five years is a no-brainer,” she added.
Green efforts at many Kwip Trip stores include installation of low-energy lighting, low-flow toilets and sinks; and more efficient motors for its coolers. Most of these efforts are planned to go into most, if not all, of Kwik Trip's more than 400 c-stores.
Energy management systems, which can be monitored from its La Crosse headquarters, are also being installed in many stores. Other initiatives include skylights and additional windows for day lighting, heat recovery water heaters, refrigeration waste heat recovery, using more concrete than asphalt in lots to allow for less lighting and heat, and recycling efforts, according to the report.
Almost as important as the environment and economic benefits is the fact that customers often don't see any difference when entering the stores. "Many of our [customers] probably don't even see the initiatives that have been taken, but we believe they and the community as a whole are benefiting from them," Ring said.