ACE HARDWARE TESTS HYDROGEN FUEL CELL TECHNOLOGY
Ace’s Sacramento Retail Support Center receives $10,000 grant from Placer County
Ace Hardware Corporation is testing pallet trucks powered by zero-emission, hydrogen fuel cells at its Sacramento Retail Support Center, one of 14 distribution centers in the U.S. for the largest retailer-owned cooperative in the home improvement industry. As a result, Ace’s Sacramento facility, which is located in Placer County's Sunset Industrial Area, near Rocklin, Calif., is receiving a $10,000 grant from Placer County Air Pollution District to help fund additional testing in the future.
Placer County District 2 Supervisor Robert Weygandt, who represents the Sunset Industrial Area, also serves on the Board of the Air Pollution Control District and as Vice Chairman of the Placer County Economic Development Board. “The county is proud to have Ace Hardware as part of our Sunset Industrial Area. This retail support center provides 325 good jobs, demonstrates leadership by exploring this new, environmentally-friendly technology and in the process contributes to our high quality of life. We are very pleased to see Ace take this important step.”
The initial test, which started in February 2008, consisted of replacing lead-acid batteries, which take about six hours to recharge using electric power, with hydrogen fuel cells – requiring less than three minutes to refill – for six out of the 41 pallet trucks and forklifts at the facility. A hydrogen fuel cell operates safely, cleanly and efficiently, generating clean water as its by-product.
“We’re encouraged by the initial findings, and anxious to see the complete test results to determine the viability of expanding the use of this hydrogen fuel cell technology in this and other facilities,” said Bill Bauman, vice president of retail support for Ace Hardware. “While there are still many opportunities throughout our company and at retail to be environmentally responsible, Ace continues to look for ways to help the environment, whether it’s identifying new sources of energy or offering eco-friendly products to customers.”
Bauman also noted the following initiatives already underway at Ace:
· In 2005, Ace began testing biodiesel fuel – an 80/20 mix of vegetable oil and diesel fuel – in several tractors in its Midwestern fleet. Today, Ace uses biodiesel in the entire fleet for its Retail Support Center, located in Princeton, Ill., and has plans to roll it out to several other distribution centers across the country.
· Ace has installed energy-efficient T5 lighting in the majority of its distribution centers. This lighting produces twice the illumination at 50 percent of the energy when compared to the typical metal halide lighting found in most distribution centers.
· Ace Paint, which is the only line of private-label products Ace manufactures, has taken a proactive stance by reducing volatile organic compound (VOC) limits to be well below the national EPA regulation in core paint lines.
· Ace Paint recently achieved ISO 14001 certification for the facility’s environmental management systems. ISO 14001 is a system designed to help communities and other types of organizations meet their environmental obligations and reduce the impact of their operations on the environment.
· Ace also developed “Helpful Earth Choices” to help customers identify environmentally-friendly products and sustainable items such as reusable shopping bags, recycling bins, compostable and biodegradable waste bags, 100 percent recycled paper towels, Energy Star lamp holders and under cabinet light fixtures, vacancy sensors, electric or battery-powered mowers and waste-away paint hardener.
Ace’s Sacramento Retail Support Center employees 325 individuals and serves more than 425 Ace Hardware stores in Northern and Central California, Nevada, Hawaii, the Pacific Rim, Australia, United Arab Emirates and Asia. The 1,028,000-square-foot facility represents Ace’s second largest distribution center in size and volume in the country.
About Ace Hardware
Throughout its 84-year history, Ace Hardware has been known as the “helpful place” by customers in the communities it serves. In 2007, Ace Hardware was rated “Highest in Customer Satisfaction among Major Home Improvement Stores” by J.D. Power and Associates. With 4,600 hardware, home center and building materials stores generating annual retail sales of more than $12 billion, Ace is the largest retailer-owned hardware cooperative in the industry. Headquartered in Oak Brook, Ill., Ace currently operates 14 distribution centers in the U.S. and one warehouse in Shanghai, China. More information about Ace can be found at www.acehardware.com.
About the Sunset Industrial Area
Ace Hardware is a good example of the strong business partners sought by Placer County as it planned the Sunset Industrial Area. Placer County established the SIA to attract new businesses and provide location options for expansion of existing economic activity in a modern industrial and business park setting. Located strategically in unincorporated Placer County between the fastest-growing cities, the SIA is intended to provide area residents with a concentration of varied and high-quality employment opportunities. More than 5,000 employees representing 16 industry sectors and 150 establishments currently work within the SIA, creating a total economic output of nearly $1 billion, which helps to pay for county services for all county residents.