As a Co-op, we are dedicated to the triple bottom line of social, economic, and environmental sustainability. We are a model for environmental sustainability in the grocery business with our:


  • Buying practices that include sourcing locally and organically whenever possible;
  • Focus on waste reduction. Representative Chellie Pingree chose the Co-op as the setting to introduce her Food Waste Bill in December 2015;
  • Bulk section, where you can bring your own container to reduce waste in packaging;
  • Intentional store design, using high-efficiency appliances, and innovative waste reduction measures (outlined in more detail below);
  • Store being accessible by bus, bike, and foot.

During the design of our store, a volunteer design committee, Warren Construction Group, and Spark Applied Efficiency worked together to identify cost-effective energy-saving projects to advance the co-op’s mission of sustainability and affordability. By including efficiency experts from the beginning, key decisions could be prioritized with operating costs and other important long-term impacts in mind. As a result of this collaboration, the team was able to improve the building’s energy performance within a tight budget.

As a result, we use approximately 40% of the energy that an average grocery store uses, according to calculations by our architects at Kaplan Thompson.  Significant savings were achieved through the following measures;

  • The Produce coolers are the only open coolers in the store, all other coolers are enclosed.  In most grocery stores, the meat, beverage and deli coolers would be open, because marketers assume open coolers will lead to more sales. By installing coolers with doors, the Portland Food Co-op will save about 24,000 kwhrs of electricity a year, the same amount of electricity as used by 4 houses in a year!
  • Nearly all of the lighting in the PFC is super-efficient LED lighting, which is 20% more efficient than even the most efficient fluorescent lighting available today.
  • All lights are controlled by dimmers, timers or motion sensors, making sure lights are only on when needed.
  • Waste energy from refrigerators is captured to heat hot water, at the same time reducing both the energy needed for water heating and for air conditioning.
  • High-efficiency compressors were installed in coolers and freezers, and all fan motors in those refrigeration systems use efficient ECM technology to reduce energy demand.
  • Most coolers have heaters that run 100% of the time to keep condensation off of the doors. At the Co-op, smart controllers turn on and off the heaters in the coolers.
  • High efficiency blowers are installed in the bathrooms that remove water from your hands without heat, just high speed air.
  • Dual flush toilets in the bathrooms.