Go Behind the Scenes at Target’s First Net Zero Energy Store —Target's Most Sustainable Facility Yet


Target | March 17,2022


When you stand at the entrance of the Vista, California, store, it looks like any other Target store. But underneath that iconic Target exterior is a complex system of electrical, plumbing, solar and more that makes it one of a kind — and their most sustainable store yet. On its own, the store will generate more renewable energy than needed each year to power its operations. It’s Target’s first net zero energy store, and a powerful example of the Target Forward strategy in action as they work toward their commitment to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2040. It serves as a testing site for sustainability-minded innovations, providing learnings that will help inform future store designs.


In Tim Haag’s 24 years at Target as an electrical designer, he’s spent the last five of them dreaming about one thing: carports. “For years, I’ve been thinking: I can’t wait to build a canopy with solar on top,” says Tim. “My work has focused on Target’s solar installations, and I could see the potential of carports as another energy source for us. And as an electrical engineer, building a solar carport canopy seemed like a fun challenge — I wanted to dig in and understand how they could work.”


Alongside its new carports, the store includes features like an electric HVAC system and CO2 refrigeration — a natural refrigerant — that helps reduce the store’s emissions. And the team did it all while navigating major challenges from COVID-19 (they had to select and design the site remotely) to solving for a lack of electrical connection points at the solar carport site — which required boring under the store in order to connect the canopies to the electrical system at the back.


Forward thinking

This store? It’s just one way Target is testing and learning through the Target Forward vision to co-create an equitable and regenerative future together with their guests, partners and communities. And their already putting insights into action: Based on Target's learnings from the Vista store, their taking CO2 refrigeration chain-wide by 2040. This effort builds on the ways we’re already running our facilities to be more sustainable — including installing LED lights across our stores, adding EV charging stations to more than 150 locations and building recycling and composting programs that led us to already divert more than 80% of our operational waste from landfill.


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