by Eileen Weber
If you like to buy green products, you might be happy to know that some of the buildings you shop in are also green. Certain retail chains have hopped on the band wagon of green building.
Kohl’s, a retailer of clothes, jewelry and other accessories, just opened a new store in Waterbury over the weekend with grand opening ceremonies today.
“Kohl’s is committed to being an environmentally responsible retailer,” said Ken Bonning, the company’s Executive Vice President for Logistics, in a recent press release. He also said that the “design and functionality [of the stores] do not have to be sacrificed when creating green buildings.”
Some of the key features include an energy management system that controls sensor lighting for stock rooms, break rooms and offices. They installed controlled irrigation systems and localized water heaters. Their merchandise bags are made of 20% recycled materials and their gift boxes are 100% recyclable.
Within the past year, the retailer has taken an aggressive tack with green building. The store, among 45 nation-wide, was constructed according to a design that is pre-certified by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) at the Silver level from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
The store chain was also awarded the EPA’s Energy Star label. The label was given this past July for superior energy efficiency and environmental performance. Their own web site states the store chain is the largest group of retail buildings to earn that label.
But, Kohl’s is not alone. Office Depot recently opened a 21,000 square foot store in Austin, TX. Their facility boasts solar panels, high efficiency heating and cooling systems, and even recycled carpets. Like Kohl’s, they also have recycling programs for the materials they use such as corrugated cardboard, paper and printer cartridges.
According to an article dated August 15th on Retail Wire, an online forum for the retail industry, store chains are going green because “consumers are demanding green and retailers are recognizing the public relations value.”
The article also indicated other stores joining the list of green building. Chains like Wal-Mart, Starbucks, Target, and Home Depot are among them. Each of these companies is working with the USGBC to build new construction under green guidelines.
Kohl’s has over 1,000 stores in the lower 48 states with 18 of them in Connecticut. The company plans to open an additional 50 stores in 2009. The Waterbury branch is located at 3776 East Main Street.