CINCINNATI, April 23, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) today announced that its Fry's Marketplace located on West Bell Road and I-17 in Phoenix is the Kroger family of store's 500 th location to earn the ENERGY STAR designation from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy. "Kroger is a shining example that improving the energy efficiency of our nation's buildings is not only good for business, it's critical to protecting the climate," said Jean Lupinacci, Chief of EPA's ENERGY STAR Commercial and Industrial Branch. "By addressing energy efficiency from design through operation, Kroger is leading the way for others and demonstrating that a lifecycle approach is the most effective way to ensure lasting energy savings." Commercial buildings that earn the ENERGY STAR label rate in the top 25 percent of facilities in the nation for energy efficiency and performance. "This accomplishment is very exciting for our company and our associates, because it demonstrates our commitment to energy reduction," said Keith Oliver, Kroger's vice president of facility engineering. "Energy management remains a vital part of our sustainability work, and we are proud to partner with ENERGY STAR to improve today to protect tomorrow." Kroger utilizes a variety of practices to increase energy efficiency, employing technology such as LED lights, skylights, and control systems - as well as engaging store associates in energy savings initiatives. The company has reduced its average grocery store electricity usage by over 34.3 percent since the year 2000, saving enough electricity to power every single-family home in Charlotte, NC for one year. In 2012, Kroger received the Alliance to Save Energy's top award, the "Galaxy" Star of Energy Efficiency, and an "Award of Excellence" from Platt's Publications for its commitment to energy efficiency. More information about Kroger's energy and sustainability efforts can be found at http://sustainability.kroger.com. ENERGY STAR was introduced by EPA in 1992 as a voluntary, market-based partnership to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through energy efficiency. Today, the ENERGY STAR label can be found on more than 65 different kinds of products, 1.4 million new homes, and 20,000 commercial buildings and industrial plants that meet strict energy-efficiency specifications set by the EPA. Over the past twenty years, American families and businesses have saved more than $230 billion on utility bills and prevented more than 1.8 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions with help from ENERGY STAR. Kroger, one of the world's largest retailers, employs more than 375,000 associates who serve customers in 2,640 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 34 states and the District of Columbia under two dozen local banner names including Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry's, Harris Teeter, Jay C, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs and Smith's. The company also operates 786 convenience stores, 320 fine jewelry stores, 1,240 supermarket fuel centers and 38 food processing plants in the U.S. Recognized by Forbes as the most generous company in America, Kroger supports hunger relief, breast cancer awareness, the military and their families, and more than 30,000 schools and grassroots organizations. Kroger contributes food and funds equal to 200 million meals a year through more than 80 Feeding America food bank partners. A leader in supplier diversity, Kroger is a proud member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber's Million Dollar Club. SOURCE The Kroger Co.