Home Depot details energy savings; fuel cell use

The nation’s largest home improvement retailer met an important environmental goal three years ahead of schedule

The Home Depot said it has cut energy use 23.5% since 2010, exceeding its goal to reduce consumption by 20% by 2020. The savings are detailed in the new sustainability report from The Home Depot, “A Year in Progress,” which outlines the chain’s sustainability progress and environmental goals, workforce and community initiatives.

In other energy initiatives, The Home Depot has been tapping into sustainable energy (produced off-site and on-site) in line with its goal of leveraging 135 megawatts of alternative/renewable energy by 2020. It noted alternative energy projects were in place in 216 stores by the end of 2017.

The retailer has also cut polluting emissions significantly — in some cases by 50% — by using fuel cells in place of traditional power sources. The technology was in place outside 178 Home Depot stores by the end of last year, producing about 90% of each location’s electricity needs. More installations are underway.

In addition to helping customers reduce their environmental impact through Energy Star and WaterSense products, The Home Depot reduced its Scope 3 upstream transportation and distribution of freight greenhouse gas emissions by 10%. And 32% of the hazardous waste it managed was recycled or reused for energy.

In other 2017 highlights, more than 50% of the company’s new hires were ethnically diverse and more than 34% were women. The Home Depot Foundation, the company’s philanthropic arm, granted $63 million to support local communities in 2017, including over $4 million to assist areas affected by catastrophic hurricanes and wildfires. And the chain’s employee relief non-profit, The Homer Fund, assisted more than 6,000 associates who experienced evacuations, as well as damage or loss of their homes.

In new commitments, the Home Depot has updated its parental leave policy by giving six weeks of 100% paid leave to all parents along with an additional six weeks of 100% paid maternity leave to all birth mothers.

An updated wood-purchasing policy has been introduced as well, effective on Sept. 1. The company has also asked suppliers to exclude additional chemicals from residential household cleaning chemical products sold online and in stores by the end of 2022.

A copy of The Home Depot’s 2018 Sustainability Report can be found here.