mıssıon: to employ the highest-quality products at the best
price with the lowest possible
• Building envelopes are insulated to meet
current energy code requirements or better.
• The main building structure is a pre-engineered
system designed to minimize the amount of material
used. Exterior skin follows the same principle, and
recycled steel is used in all metal portions of buildings.
• When masonry and concrete are utilized, the
materials purchased are local to the project,
minimizing the transportation required and The sensors measure
the impact on local road networks. available daylight, and
• Buildings employ “cool roof” designs the controls turn inte-
to reduce heat-transfer and heat-island rior lights off and on as
Awareness and effects through the roof. necessary to maintain an
alternatives acceptable light level. Walk into
In addition to the waste we a newer Costco warehouse on a
produce each day in the conduct of sunny day and there’s a decent chance
our business, we operate huge facilities that only one-third of the lights will be on.
withmassive heating, air-conditioning, refrigeration Along with the use of more efficient fixtures, these
and lighting systems, which must be considered in measuressave Costcomillionsin energy expenditures
terms of their energy consumption and waste pro- each year, and reduce pollution accordingly.
duction. In Costco’s warehouses, depots and admini- These programs and initiatives represent only a
strative offices, employees face waste-disposal and very small slice of Costco’s efforts to reduce both the
energy consumption challenges at every turn. Con- resources we consume and the waste we generate.
struction and maintenance departments not only There are many other areas in which we continue to
purchase electricity, they also manage the use of it, seek improved solutions.
most importantly in air conditioning and lighting. Underpinning all this technology and technique
While alternative energy sources are the “glam- is a simple fact: In the 21st century, conservation
our” aspect of the energy department, the meat and and conscientious disposal are not options; they are
potatoes of the business is conservation; it’s what necessities, and they require full participation to
lowers the bills. be successful. As Costco employees and citizens of One of the most cost-effective conservation Earth, we can make a significant difference, but we
measures Costco employs is known as daylight har- all have to do it together. C
vesting, and it is a company-wide practice. Along
with the installation of more skylights in the build- Stephen Smith is the managing editor of Costco’s
ings (they now account for 6 per cent of roof space employee publication, Costco Wholesale Today.
on new construction, up from just 2 per cent several This article originally ran in the April 2007 issue.
years ago), light sensors and control systems have Ron Damiani, assistant vice president of corporate
also become standard equipment at most locations. affairs, contributed to this updated versi on.
for dry goods and the other, which is insulated,
can be used for frozen or refrigerated items.
Costco’s reusable bags are made of woven
polypropylene and can carry up to 40 kg. They
measure 380 mm high by 530 mm long by 300
mm wide and are designed to fit easily into
Costco shopping carts and car trunks. The bags
are sold in packs of three.
“This bag was specifically designed for
Costco members,” says Tasso Koustelidis, president and CEO of Montreal-based Conglom, the
company that produces the bags. Depending on
use, the bags are designed to last several years.
When it’s time to replace them, Koustelidis says,
both the tote bags and the cooler
bags are 100 per cent recyclable.
Originally introduced in
November 2006 by Costco Canada
in partnership with Conglom, these
bags have proven to be extremely
popular and are now available in
the UK and the United States. “They
sold out instantly, and continue to
be very much in demand,” says
Costco Canada buyer Marc-André
Bally. Recyclable bags are not new.
But not everyone makes them the
Costco way.—Steve Fisher