In advance of today's grand opening, Alix and I toured the new 50,000 square foot Whole Foods in San Jose. Already devout Whole Foods shoppers, we weren’t surprised by the wide array of gourmet, organic, vegan, raw, gluten-free, and locally grown offerings. But the on-site fuel cell—generating 90 percent of the store’s electricity needs—THAT was impressive.
The first store on the west coast powered by the UTC Power fuel cell system and one of only three in the nation, the onsite energy efficient system will prevent the release of more than 370 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually—the equivalent of planting 85 acres of trees. And, the reductions in nitrogen oxide emissions are equal to taking 92 cars off the road.
Local residents (i.e. me) will appreciate the store being off the grid during the winter storms to come and all too frequent PG&E power outages. Good to know we can head over to Whole Foods where the lights will be on, the shawarma will be hot, and the gluten-free beer cold.
Other store highlights include:
- A Nutrition Bar with dietary advice based on Dr. Joel Fuhrman's Eat Right America program, staffed by the enthusiastic and knowledgeable Georgia Brown. Appointments are walk-in and free. Brown’s got cool toys so you can measure body fat, blood pressure, and blood oxygenation.
- Kombucha on tap, right by the front door.
- Products from more than 200 local Bay Area Vendors (within 100 miles of San Jose).
- A grind-your-own nut-butter station
- A kids’play area—AKA The Mercado—where they can learn about healthy eating.
- A spacious and light-filled dining area.
- Recycled construction materials used throughout including reclaimed wood from an old Warner Brothers set, which according to our store tour guide has seen the days of Rin Tin Tin.
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Kim Kooyers is a freelance writer. She also blogs at gratiude365. Editor's Note: Kim was the film crew for our story, too. :)