RETAILERS ARE TAKING THE LEED
(Leadership in Energy and Environmental
Design)—pursuing certification at pilot sites that
will presumably set the stage for a new era of
Everyone from coffee king Starbucks to supply
chain Office Depot is in on the green action.
“It’s a new trend, but the sheer number of
retailers pursuing LEED is intriguing,” says
Marc Heisterkamp, director of commercial real
estate at the U.S. Green Building Council,
Washington, D.C., USA. The group, which
certifies green buildings using its LEED point
system, is currently working with 300 retail
companies, each pursuing certification on at
least one location.
Although LEED has become an established
benchmark for sustainable building projects,
retailers face a different set of issues in taking
entire chains green.
“It’s not just about achieving certain goals for a
single project, it’s about how they manage change
across the entire business,” Mr. Heisterkamp says.
“Retailers don’t do anything once. When they
make changes, they integrate them into their
processes so that they can be replicated across all
of their stores.”
That means not only must retailers figure out
how to meet LEED requirements cost-effectively,
but they also need to design a strategy to implement
those changes into their standard building plans so
that every future store looks and feels the same.
“Retail building teams are trained to consistently deliver a very specific project package on
time with tight budgets and rigorous quality
controls,” he says.
Adding green to the mix can complicate
matters. Starting small, with one or two stores,
is the best way to begin the process, says Mr.
Heisterkamp. Retailers should implement a pilot
project that lets them learn what it takes to build
a green store from a financial and developmental
perspective, then devise a way to replicate that
model within the budget.