Office Depot's prototype for new store construction has been pre-certified at the LEED-Gold level, the highest green rating awarded so far to retailers participating in the U.S. Green Building Council's program to expedite certification of new eco-friendly commercial buildings.
The office supplies retailer announced this week that it had attained the high rating in addition to achieving certification at the same level for its first green store, which opened this past summer in Austin, Texas.
"We went for gold and we were successful in accomplishing it," Ed Costa, vice president of construction for Office Depot, said in a statement. "Achieving LEED-Gold certification for our Austin store and prototype will make the certification process simpler and more efficient for future LEED-certified stores."
The firm said it will use the prototype for all new stores for which it manages construction from the ground up.
Office Depot was among the first group of 14 companies, and the only office products firm, to enlist in the Leadership for Environmental and Energy Design Portfolio Program pilot for pre-certification.
Until the pre-certification of the Office Depot prototype, the highest rating that had been awarded in the program was a LEED-Silver designation. Banks and retailers that have attained the silver pre-certification rating include Wells Fargo, Kohl's and Citi. The tiers of the four-level green building rating system range from basic certification and to LEED Platinum, the highest designation possible.
The environmentally friendly elements of the Office Depot prototype include an estimated 37 percent energy cost savings; photovoltaic solar arrays to offset 11 percent of the building's total annual energy costs; energy efficient T5 lighting, active solar tracking skylights by Ciralight that daylight over 75 percent of the store; a 40 percent reduction in water use resulting from low-flow plumbing fixtures and dual-flush toilets; a reflective white roof with solar reflectance index of 96 and white concrete pavement to reduce the urban heat island effect; preferred parking for parking for low-emitting, fuel efficient vehicles and carpool or vanpool participants and a recycling program.
Other green attributes for new stores include landfill diversion of 83 percent of construction waste; use of recycled materials equivalent to 25 percent of the total material cost for the project and use of finish materials — adhesives and sealants, carpet, paints, and composite wood — that meet voltaic organic compound requirements. And all the news stores will establish comprehensive Green Education programs for employees and customers.