Kohl's 500 Energy Star Stores Help Company Save $50M

MENOMONEE FALLS, WI — [Editor's Note: Information on Kohl's solar installations updated July 19, 2010.]

Kohl's Department Stores has reached another milestone in its aggressive sustainability campaign: 500 stores in the retail chain have now earned the Energy Star label.

The designation, now borne by almost half the company's 1,089 stores, recognizes the sites for outstanding energy efficiency and building performance. To obtain the label, buildings must rank in the top 25 percent of the rating system set by the Energy Star program maintained by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy.

In announcing the achievement yesterday, Kohl's said its energy efficiency efforts in the past four years have helped the company avoid $50 million in electricity cost and have boosted efficiency by more than 20 percent.

Kohl's 500th Energy Star store is located in Menomonee Falls, Wisc., the town where the company is based. The store is pictured here:

Kohl's Menomonee Falls

The firm marked its accomplishment by making a new commitment to green building: Starting next spring all newly constructed stores are to pursue "Designed to Earn the Energy Star" designations.

The recognition means the building has been designed for a level of energy efficiency that would merit an Energy Star label, and "Designed to Earn" sites must perform at that level for a year in order to qualify for an Energy Star label. So far, five Kohl's stores have been deemed "Designed to Earn the Energy Star" this year. 

"We are building on our commitment to drive energy efficiency companywide as we continue to near our goal of being carbon neutral," said Ken Bonning, Kohl's executive vice president of store planning and logistics, in a statement yesterday.

In December, Kohl's set a goal of becoming carbon neutral by the end of this year. The target applies to the company's U.S. stores, distribution centers and corporate offices, which are to operate with net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the close of 2010.

The ambitious goal is now part of an environmental program marked by achievements in several areas. They include:

Green Power Purchases -- The company is among the biggest purchasers renewable energy in the U.S. In January, the firm again topped the list of retailers making major green power purchases in the country, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. As of this year, Kohl's purchases of renewable energy meet 100 percent of the company's electricity use. Nationwide across all sectors, Kohl's standing as a green power purchaser is second only to Intel.

Hosting Solar Power -- With 88 installations in seven states, the company is largest retail host of solar power in North America. Ten other installations are being constructed, according to the company, whose short-term goal is to have 100 rooftop solar power systems among its stores.

Green Building -- Kohl's was an early participant in the U.S. Green Building Council's volume certification program. The program enables companies to expedite full certification by constructing buildings according to pre-approved design prototypes. In 2008, the company opened 45 stores that were built according to a pre-certified LEED-Silver green design.

Energy Efficiency -- By 2008, all Kohl's sites were operating with a system that controls most interior and exterior lighting. In addition to deploying building automation systems, Kohl's has replaced 75 watt incandescent bulbs with 24 watt metal halide bulbs and improved the control of variable speed fans on commercial rooftop HVAC units. With its portfolio of Energy Star properties, Kohl's has the more Energy Star labeled sites than any other department store chain.

Image courtesy of Kohl's.