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Stop & Shop proposes wind turbines, LED lights and more

Stop & Shop wants to bring more than groceries to Wayland.

Electric car charging stations, LED parking lot lights, solar panels and wind turbines were part of a Stop & Shop presentation Tuesday night during a Wayland Planning Board meeting.

The green initiatives are part of Stop & Shop’s efforts to earn LEED certification for the Wayland store.

Architect David Campbell told the Planning Board and meeting attendees, including abutters to the Town Center site, that the Wayland Stop & Shop location hopes to achieve LEED silver certification, but will at least achieve basic LEED certification.

LEED certification is granted based on a point system. Various “green” features earn points and LEED certification levels are granted based on the number of points earned.

“Stop & Shop is very proud to be in this community of Wayland and even more proud to be here presenting new and forthcoming technology for the site,” Campbell said.

Town Planner Sarkis Sarkisian explained that he invited Stop & Shop representatives to the Planning Board meeting in order for them to offer an overall presentation about the features they hoped to incorporate into the building, as well as to allow the Planning Board and residents to ask questions and make suggestions about the various features.

Of the four features presented – solar panels, LED parking lot lights, electric car charging stations and wind turbines – only the lighting and wind turbines would require any new approvals and changes to the already-approved permits.

LED Parking Lot Lights

Sarkisian said that the use of LED lights themselves is covered in the existing permits, but the type of fixture Stop & Shop has proposed to use in the parking lot will require a so-called “minor modification” to the existing permits.

“The LED lights are going to save about 1.4 percent of the store’s annual electricity requirements,” Campbell said. “It’s cleaner, lighter and we feel it’s the way to go in energy efficiency.”

Sarkisian encouraged Stop & Shop representatives to consider how LED lights in the Stop & Shop parking lot would look when compared to the non-LED lights used in the rest of Town Center.

“We look at Town Center as a comprehensive project,” Sarkisian told Patch after the meeting. He said he understood Stop & Shop would be a separate part of Town Center, but he wanted to ensure that the light fixtures and style of light fit within the entire project.

Wind Turbines

The proposed wind turbines drew the most conversation of the evening as presenters explained that the system under consideration is a vertical-blade system rather than the better-known horizontal-blade system.

Kalu Watanabe, a representative with Wing Power Energy who has been tapped to provide the turbines, explained that the vertical turbines – which he said some people view as “kinetic art” – do away with noise common with horizontal turbines and are also more efficient in lower-wind settings, such as Wayland.

“Think of it as a very aerodynamic weathervane,” Watanabe said. “We don’t need to spin as fast as a horizontal [wind turbine] to create the same amount of power because of the torque.”

Watanabe said that wind turbines generate more power per square foot than solar panels do and, in the specific case of the Stop & Shop site, were expected to generate about 1 percent of the store’s energy needs.

Abutters to the site raised concerns about “flickering,” or the effect of the sun hitting the turbines propellers and flashing a reflection on nearby homes and businesses.

Watanabe estimated he’d spent more than 1,000 hours staring up at the working wind turbines and had never noticed flickering with the vertical turbines. Still, he agreed to create computer renderings to test for the issue.

Electric Cars and Solar Panels

As for the items that don’t require additional approvals, Sarkisian explained that solar panels are exempt from zoning guidelines and codes.

Even so, Campbell pointed out that the panels planned for the roof of Stop & Shop would not extend beyond the building’s parapit, and “aren’t visible from the ground at all.”

Campbell said the panels are expected to supply about 10 percent of the store’s overall energy needs and are already being used on other Stop & Shop locations.

The Wayland site will be a first for Stop & Shop when it comes to electric car charging stations, nine of which are planned for the site.

“It’s new technology,” Campbell said. “We’re very excited about doing these in this project. It’s a first for us. Stop & Shop does not have these anywhere else.”

He said the hope is that Town Center customers on a whole, not just those shopping at Stop & Shop, will be able to make use of the stations. Campbell said he understood that customers will pay for the charging station with a pass card of some type that they will purchase in Stop & Shop, though he didn’t have full details about the program itself.

The car charging stations are planned for “prime” Stop & Shop parking spaces, and Sarkisian asked the representatives to consider moving those to a different location. Either way, the charging stations do not change the number of available spaces nor the configuration of the parking lot and therefore don’t require permit changes.

Sarkisian said Tuesday’s meeting was intended to be informational and he anticipated having the representatives back for a future meeting. Any modifications to the existing permits, Sarkisian said, would follow the process of advertising the hearing and alerting abutters.

Stop & Shop intends to begin stocking the shelves on Nov. 1 of this year and hopes to open by Thanksgiving, Sarkisian said.