Office Depot Advances Plans to Green Stores Inside and Out

Office Depot Advances Plans to Green Stores Inside and Out

Office Depot has opened its first store registered as a green building project under LEED standards for commercial interiors (LEED-CI) -- the latest move in the company's program to make its sites more environmentally friendly.

The store in Austin, Texas, awaits certification. Office Depot says it will open 14 others with commercial interiors designed to LEED standards before the end of the year, and it will seek certification for all of them.

By designing store interiors to LEED-CI standards, Office Depot extends its green building program to existing structures.

The company devised its green solution for new construction rmore than two years ago.

In January 2009, capping more than a year of prototype development, Office Depot became the first retailer to receive LEED-Gold pre-approval of a design prototype for green stores built from scratch. Under the USGBC volume certification program, companies that obtain design approval of their building plan can expedite the review process and quickly finalize certification of any structure constructed according to the plan. Office Depot has said it intends to use its prototype for any store construction project that it manages from the ground up.

The company's first test of the concept, a store that was completed in Austin in 2008 and received a LEED-Gold rating at the time the prototype was pre-certified, has delivered double-digit drops in energy and carbon. Carbon emissions at the store are 23 percent lower and the site is about 15 percent more energy efficient per square foot than other Office Depot stores in Austin.

"Office Depot should be commended for their remarkable environmental leadership," said USGBC President, Founder and CEO Rick Fedrizzi in a statement issued July 15 when the LEED-CI registered store opened.  "Having all Office Depot locations -- existing and future -- undergo LEED certification is a tremendous accomplishment and speaks volumes about not only their corporate commitment to mitigating our environmental challenges, but is also smart for their business, as these locations will be individually saving money over the lifecycle of the facilities."

Design elements for the store interiors built to LEED-CI standards include:

  • Skylights (where possible) to harvest daylight for 90 percent of the store.
  • A reflective roof that helps to prevent absorption of the sun's heat and keeps the store's interior cooler.
  • 100 percent Energy Star rated building equipment and appliances.
  • Energy Management Systems that allow tracking of energy usage and trends from one central location.
  • T5 energy efficient lighting.
  • Daylight and occupancy sensors.
  • Water conservation fixtures that include tankless instant hot water heaters, low-flush toilets, low-flow urinals and automatic shutoff sensors in restrooms.
  • Wood sourcing; 50 percent of wood used will come from Forest Stewardship Council certified sources.
  • Interior finishes made of low VOC emitting materials.
  • Construction materials that consist of at least 10 percent recycled content.
  • Office supplies, technology and furniture with a range of green attributes -- recycled content, remanufactured, Energy Star rated and non-toxic.
  • An in-store recycling center to handle Office Depot ink and toner cartridge recycling, tech recycling service and cell phone and rechargeable battery recycling.
  • Preferred parking designated for low-emitting, fuel-efficient vehicles and carpool vehicles.

In building stores to LEED-CI standards, construction waste will be recycled when possible, and completed stores are to purchase green power to supplement electrical use, the company said,

Image courtesy of Office Depot.