I have no idea how to judge whether this is serious, as opposed to greenwashing, but I do know that Wal-Mart could probably do more than any three of the rest of us combined:

“We see customers having to choose between filling up their gas tanks or buying medicine and food and clothes,” ran Mr. Scott’s prepared remarks. “Somebody has to do something. And your Wal-Mart will.”

Among the prescriptions: Make the chain’s most energy-intensive products, from TVs to laptops, 25% more efficient over the next three years.

“We do not know exactly how we will get there. We do not even know if our suppliers can make items like hair dryers use 25% less energy,” Mr. Scott’s speech read, before adding ominously: “But we do know that our approach works–to partner with suppliers.”


  1. Hair driers, in particular, cannot be made to be more efficient. The way they work is by converting electricity into heat. If you want more heat, you have to use more electricity.

    I suppose that the fan could be made to be more effcient, but that uses such a small part of the device’s power, that you would never get anywhere near a 25% reduction in power use.

    Of course, the best way t osave power with a plasma TV is to never buy the thing in the first place.

    Admittedly, these are pessimistic comments. In fact, I am glad to hear of this initiative. I suspect it is genuine. Wal-Mart probably has figured out that furture growth in the US economy is going to depend an energy effciency as much as any other factor.

  2. I don’t know the first thing about hair drier technology, but is there not some efficiency to be gained by getting the heat more efficiently onto the hair that needs drying or something?

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