Electricity and fuels used to operate our stores generate the majority of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that we can control directly. For this reason, we are focused on increasing energy efficiency and finding ways to reduce energy consumption in our stores.
We continue to see value in improving the efficiency of the lighting and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) technologies within our stores, home offices and distribution centers. To facilitate the sharing of best practices across our global regions, a team of energy subject matter experts meets throughout the year to collaborate on regional approaches. This group supports the energy data collection efforts for over 3,800 stores as part of our global corporate GHG inventory. It also reviews progress against our corporate GHG target and identifies key topics to be considered by our Executive Environmental Steering Committee.
Additionally, regional Energy Management groups have operated in the U.S. for over 25 years, and similar groups have been established across our global operations. These groups are responsible for managing our energy consumption and costs, analyzing and improving current operational performance, and testing, prioritizing and implementing energy efficiency technologies and products.
Our energy efficiency programs include:
Over the past five years, we have implemented emissions reduction projects that have helped reduce our global carbon footprint by over 50,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) and saved the Company an estimated $15 million.
Renewable energy is an increasingly important part of our environmental sustainability strategy and our approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions from electricity consumption. We periodically benchmark against other companies’ goals and activities, as well as research global initiatives and guidance. For TJX, onsite renewable electricity generation opportunities are limited as we typically do not build or own our store locations. For this reason, we generally pursue offsite renewable energy alternatives opportunistically.
As a global company, we operate in many different energy and renewables markets, so opportunities for using renewable energy vary greatly from country to country and even within regions. For that reason, we have regional strategies to support our efforts, and subject matter experts review opportunities, deal structures and procurement strategies that are currently available in their local marketplaces. They continue to evaluate alternative energy solutions and purchasing opportunities for our facilities, taking into account the economic and operational feasibility.
In 2016, we purchased more than 27 million kilowatt-hours of renewable energy in total. We sourced from a variety of technologies and contracts, including solar panels installed on our buildings, direct contracts with utilities for regionally located renewables, and renewable energy credits from national wind farms. Our renewable energy purchases enabled us to reduce our Scope 2 market-based GHG inventory by over 18,600 metric tons of CO2e in 2016.
In the U.S., specific efforts include collaborating with landlords to have solar panels installed on the roofs of select stores in New Jersey and California and on our Connecticut distribution center. We have also designed the roofs on our new distribution centers to accommodate solar panels, and in 2016, we committed to installing solar panels on two of these new distribution centers.
In Canada, in 2016, we significantly increased our commitment to renewable energy through the purchase of Green-e certified renewable energy certificates sourced from wind farm projects. The wind energy generation we support helped avoid the creation of over 18,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions, the equivalent to taking over 3,800 cars off the road for one year or planting over 17,000 acres of trees.
In the U.K., our processing centers in Germany and Poland have incorporated both solar and geothermal technologies.
In the U.S., members of our Energy Management groups work with our store design teams, distribution center teams, vendors and many others to review opportunities to increase our energy efficiency. We analyze energy data, surveys and store feedback to identify energy consumption outliers and then deploy the appropriate solutions to improve the operations of our buildings, increase people’s comfort and save energy. In 2016, our U.S. Energy Management group worked to reduce energy and emissions in these key ways:
In Canada, we have an Energy Optimization group, which is comprised of representatives from Store Design and Construction, Maintenance, Finance and Environmental Sustainability. The team takes a similar approach as its U.S. counterpart, capturing and analyzing electric and gas usage data to identify ways to conserve energy in our stores. The team focuses on:
In 2016, we conducted research and started planning for the future of our energy program. Our efforts focused on evaluating the feasibility of new technologies and continuing to explore additional renewable energy purchasing opportunities.
In Europe, our focus on energy efficiency and conservation is deeply embedded into our business processes. Our Energy and Environment Committee is responsible for setting regional environmental sustainability goals. It is comprised of senior individuals from across the business, including Store Operations, Property, Distribution, Facilities, Finance, Store Design, Procurement and Corporate Responsibility as well as external expert consultants. At the operations level, we also have an Energy Management Committee, comprised of internal Associates and an external energy management specialist, which has helped us to continue to improve our energy performance.
Recent key TJX Europe initiatives include: