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June 20-26, 2007

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By Brett Ascarelli

Solar System

Just thinking about the bresaola at Woodlands Market in Kentfield makes us wish our office were closer to the Ross border. But now, this family-owned and -operated grocery store is also winning props--at least from us--for boosting its environmental practices to the level of its gourmet food.

Woodlands has gone solar! OK, this actually happened almost two years ago, but you read it here last.

After the Novato-based SolarCraft Services installed over 700 solar panels on Woodlands' roof, the store now generates about the same amount of power that it would take to run 35 homes daily--except that Woodlands' energy is clean. In terms of air pollution, Woodlands' solar system will, by 2035, simulate the effect of taking some 683 cars out of operation.

The decision to go solar seems to have been just another stab at being responsible. Woodlands' store management purports to have a pro-community philosophy. For example, instead of doing a lot of advertising and attracting customers with loss leaders, the company saves money to pay forward. Since the company opened over 20 years ago, it has invested some $1.9 million in the local community, primarily its schools.

It may be hella-spensive to shop there, but maybe it's a small price to pay if a business is doing right by both its local and planetary communities. Plus, where else can you pick up a quarter-pound of bresaola?

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