First Takes: Toys R Us, Coast Guard Get Solar, ThyssenKrupp Goes for Zero, and More

First Takes: Toys R Us, Coast Guard Get Solar, ThyssenKrupp Goes for Zero, and More

Image courtesy of Constellation Energy

• Toys R Us Lights Up with Green Power: There is a lot of green power news in the lineup today, beginning with Toys R Us flipping the switch on a sprawling 5.38 megawatt rooftop solar power system in New Jersey, billed as the biggest operational array in North America. Constellation Energy built, owns and will maintain the installation hosted by the toy company's largest distribution center. The system generates enough power to offset 72 percent of the facility's electricity needs. As part of the package, Constellation will earmark enough renewable energy certificates to offset 100 percent of electricity used by the Toy R Us flagship store in New York City's Times Square.

• Making Solar Pay for Itself: The U.S. Coast Guard and Schneider Electric struck a deal this week for a $50 million energy savings performance contract that will put 2.89 MWs of photovoltaic panels on the rooftops of housing and other Coast Guard facilities in Puerto Rico. Savings generated by arrays will pay for the 300 installations -- the Coasties' biggest PV project and Schneider's largest performance contract to date.

• ThyssenKrupp Elevator Moving Swiftly to Zero Waste: A new recycling program has dramatically helped ThyssenKrupp Elevator reduce its landfill waste by nearly 70 percent over the last two years, according to its new CSR report published today. Here's how the elevator manufacturer fared with other key environmental metrics since 2008: electricity use grew 6 percent; greenhouse gas emissions slid 3 percent; water use grew nearly 3 percent.

• Green Building 'Firsts' in Taiwan and Finland: Taiwan's first "zero-carbon" building, the Y.S. Sun Green Building Research Center at the National Cheng Kung University, has earned LEED-Platinum certification. The three-story, 52,000-square-foot building, dubbed the "Magic School of Green Technology," was constructed with 100 percent green materials. It uses 65 percent less energy and 50 percent less water than a non-green building of similar size.

Finland's first LEED-Platinum office building, a 10-story, 115,000-square-foot building constructed by Skanska, recently opened for business. The U.S. Green Building Council also awarded LEED-Platinum certifications to the Environmental Policy & Law Office in Chicago and the emergency center at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park this month. And green consulting firm Enermodal Engineering received double LEED-Platinum ratings (one for new construction and one for commercial interiors) from the Canada Green Building Council.

• Samsung Scores a Whale of Deal in Ontario: Samsung C&T Corp. scored a massive green power deal that will lead to several large-scale wind and solar energy projects in Ontario, Renewable Energy World reports. The US$3.01 billion deal will bring 520 megawatts to Haldimand and Chatham-Kent regions and 550 megawatt projects to Kingston and Bruce. South Korea-based Samsung will begin construction next year. 

• Paying Green Forward: Top execs at a LEED-certified Toyota dealership in Florida say green building and energy-saving measures have paid off so well that the business is eliminating dealer fees. The Examiner reports that utility costs for Sun Toyota of New Port Richey plummeted 66 percent.

Image courtesy of Constellation Energy and Toys R Us. Editor Leslie Guevarra contributed to this report.