corporate citizenship

Rona Home and Garden's Coal-Spewing Ways

Left: Home Depot’s modern, efficient lighting.  Right: Rona’s wasteful, antiquated lighting.

One of the hardest things about being aware and concerned about the environmental crisis is witnessing how many profitable planet-saving measures are ignored. Take lighting. Investments in new lighting technology can often pay themselves off in two years or less.

That’s why I’m frustrated with the approach taken by Rona Home and Garden. Rona’s President and CEO Robert Dutton recently claimed that “at RONA, we are committed to sustainable development from a social, economic and environmental perspective. This includes making a difference in Canadian communities…” (source).

And yet Rona store at 10450-42nd Avenue is wasting huge amounts of polluting electricity and money by lighting with 1960s-era technology. And that hurts my Canadian community.

Rona’s Dirty Old Technology

I did a walk-through recently, and came up with the following estimate of the 42nd Avenue store’s electricity use from lighting. This estimate is almost certainly biased in Rona’s favour because there is much information that I don’t know, so I’ve given Rona the benefit of the doubt as much as possible:

  • I estimate that there are about 500 metal halide lamps (lights) in the 42nd Ave. store (see above, right).
  • They consume, conservatively speaking, 320 Watts each (it could be as high as 460 Watts, but I can’t tell from visual observation alone).
  • These 500 lamps, assuming that they’ve been in service for 10,000 hours, consume about 160,000 Watts when turned on

On the other hand..

The efficient lighting used at, say, Home Depot’s 6725-104 Street store (pictured above at left),  could provide the same amount of light at a burn rate of 129,000 Watts.

Assuming that Rona has its lights on one hour before and one hour after closing, its lights are turned on for about 113 hours/week (source). If it updated to modern lighting, the Rona store on 42nd Avenue could save 3503 kWh per week, worth about $350. In case you’re counting, that’s 182,156 kWh and $18,216 per year.

Given that a kWh of electricity in Alberta is responsible for about 1 kg of carbon dioxide, Rona could therefore reduce the emissions of their store by 182 metric tonnes per year of CO2, while saving money in the process. It would be like taking 35 cars off the road for good.

Until Rona cleans up its act (in a profitable venture, I might add), its green claims will continue to ring hollow. Come on Rona Home and Garden! Do Edmonton and yourself a favour. Stop your polluting ways.

Note: My information comes from a contact that I have in the lighting industry. I believe that it is biased in Rona’s favour, and does not include factors such as motion sensors and variable lighting modes that could be incorporated with new technology.