Sustainability

Sustainability is relevant to everything we do at The Merc Co+op. From the products we source to the organizations we support to our recycling program, concern for our environment and our community is always top of mind. We partner with nearly three dozen local growers, champion organic in every department, and provide a space for community growth in both our classroom as well as the Growing Food Growing Health Student Gardens. See how your co-op is working towards making our planet a healthier place.


Solar Installation Project

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Latest Timeline

Mid-July
Site Plan Review Begins

End of July
Site Plan Review Completed

End of August
Order Equipment

Mid-September
Roof Top Equipment Arrives
Begin Roof Top Installation

Early October
Finish Roof Top Installation
Begin Pergola Installation

Mid-October
Begin Carport Installation

Early November
Finish Carport Installation

Mid-November
Inspections
Meter/Commissioning

Solar Update

August 14, 2017

Since announcing our solar project in April, our team at Cromwell Solar has been hard at work behind the scenes arranging permits and materials.

While we originally planned for this project to be completed by the start of school year, the time line has changed (see left). A rainy spring caused a number of delays with our April roof replacement project. And, the solar panel manufacturer that we planned to use is no longer in operation. In the search for an alternative manufacturer Cromwell Solar found panels that are even more efficient.

Stay tuned to this page for additional updates! Questions? Please contact the co-op at 785-843-8544 or comments@themerc.coop.

 

Locally Crafted Patio Pergola

The patio pergola is a beautiful combination of traditional and future technologies. It will hold 16 of the 688 solar panels and offer diners partial shade and an up close view of solar. Handcrafted in Missouri and milled from Kansas trees, it will be constructed from White Oak - an excellent material as it requires little maintenance and ages well, darkening over time. The building method utilizes timber frame construction, an old world framing method that is extremely strong and uses no metal fasteners. With this construction, hand-cut mortis and tenon joints are made to very large White Oak timbers. The structure is built off-site, then reassembled on-site, where the joints are pinned together with wood dowels. As the wood dries, the joints shrink and tighten, creating a long-lasting, natural structure. 

 
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The Merc Co+op is Going Solar

Announced April 2017

COMMUNITY-OWNED GROCERY STORE TO INSTALL 200 KW OF SOLAR ENERGY

This fall, The Merc Co+op will embark on what will be Lawrence’s largest solar energy project to date. Through a full rooftop array, two solar covered carports and a solar covered patio, the community-owned grocery store will install 688 high performance solar panels to provide 29% of their energy each year.

This project allows the co-op to harness our most reliable and sustainable renewable energy resource: the sun. The store’s roof will house the majority of the panels. Comprised of solar panels mounted on steel beams, the two solar covered carports will offer 32 spaces with partial protection from the elements and shade from the hot summer sun. An electric vehicle charging station will be installed for shopper’s use. And, a solar covered patio will offer partial shade for outdoor diners. All together the panels will produce 297,690 Kilowatt hours energy each year, enough to power 22 homes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the co-op installing solar?

The two greatest opportunities to improve our environmental impact are through a reduction of energy consumption and a transition to renewable energy. Due to the continuous operation of refrigeration systems, grocery stores consume significant amounts of energy. With the cost of conventional energy increasing by 7-10% each year, the need to reduce consumption is more important than ever.

What are the benefits to the co-op?

The co-op will offset 29% of our energy thereby avoiding 16.5 million pounds of pollution* and save us $1.8 million in energy costs.* In addition, the solar carports will be an incredibly distinctive addition to the Hillcrest Shopping Center and to the Lawrence community as a whole, which we hope will attract attention to the store and to the importance of environmental sustainability.


Annual Report (FY 2016)


Sustainability Report