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Asian Grocer Recognized for Energy Conservation

SEATTLE — Uwajimaya, a four-store Asian food retailer here, has been recognized by local utilities for its ongoing efforts to conserve energy through eco-friendly business practices.

At an event held earlier this month at Uwajimaya’s Seattle store location, Tomoko Moriguchi Matsuno, its chief executive officer, received a large symbolic check for $225,000 signifying the rebates the company has received from the utilities for the high-efficiency improvements it has made over the past six years.

Guest speakers included Margaret Lewis of Bonneville Power Administration (BPA); David Landers of Puget Sound Energy (PSE); Lori Moen of Seattle City Light; and Mike Sandberg of EnergySmart Grocer, which helps retailers achieve energy savings.

"We believe in sustainability, because we’ve been here for 84 years and we want to be here for another 84 years," said Moriguchi Matsuno, in a statement. "We want to do our part as a role model for the district and our Asian counterparts."

Read more: SN Sustainability Excellence Awards

Uwajimaya has completed 11 energy-saving projects since it began working with EnergySmart Grocer in 2006, saving a combined 1.7 million kilowatt-hours annually. During that time more than $225,000 in rebates from EnergySmart Grocer and local utilities have helped offset the costs of new equipment and installation.

Uwajimaya’s most recent efforts included comprehensive energy upgrades to its newest location in Bellevue as well as its Seattle store. The Bellevue project focused primarily on refrigeration; upgrades included a high-efficiency compressor system, rooftop condensers, efficient motors for walk-in coolers and display cases, and door heater controls. These changes, along with a new energy management system, are expected to save the store 570,000 kilowatt-hours annually, which translates to $39,000 in energy cost savings.

Rebates from EnergySmart Grocer and PSE paid for more than $71,000 of the installation costs. Upon receiving the rebate money from the Bellevue project, Uwajimaya reinvested in additional high-efficiency lighting and refrigeration upgrades for its Seattle location. That store is now poised to save an extra 434,313 kilowatt-hours per year, with rebates from Seattle City Light contributing $66,680 toward the project. Uwajimaya plans to roll the savings from these upgrades into improvements such as LED case lighting for each of its stores.

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