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Focus on: Sustainability


Office Depot is convinced that investing in sustainability pays off, and it now has hard data to support its claim. The chain spent a year—from November 2008 to November 2009—tracking the environmental and monetary benefits of its LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) GOLD-certified store in Austin, Texas. The results, led by a 16% decrease in annual electricity costs, surpassed the retailer’s initial expectations.

“The energy savings realized at our first Austin store location has been even greater than what we had originally expected,” said Edward Costa, VP construction, Office Depot, Boca Raton, Fla. “We intend to continue to make our stores as energy-efficient, water-efficient and cost-efficient as possible.”

The store, which opened in July 2008, was built green from the ground up, and featured such eco-friendly attributes as T5 energy-efficient lighting, polished concrete flooring, light sensors in all offices, high-efficiency HVAC units, solar-tracking skylights, an enhanced energy management system and a reflective white roofing system. Solar panels on the roof generate more than 10% of the store’s energy needs and power the exterior signage. Water conservation features include dual flush toilets, low-flow urinals and automatic shutoff sensors in restrooms.

In addition to lowering electricity costs, the location has lowered its carbon emissions by 23% and reduced its carbon footprint by 23%. Overall, the store is 15% more energy efficient (per square foot) than other Office Depot locations in Austin.

“The results prove how beneficial a green building can be from both an environmental and economic perspective,” said Yalmaz Siddiqui, director of environmental strategy for Office Depot.

Going forward, Office Depot plans to pursue LEED Commercial Interiors (CI) certification for all new stores beginning in June 2010, starting with its newest location in Austin, Texas, scheduled to open that same month. (LEED CI is the recognized system for certifying high-performance green interiors.)

“With LEED CI we are now able to ‘green’ all of our store locations—regardless of whether we build it ourselves or take over an existing building,” said VP construction Costa.

The green highlights of all new Office Depot LEED CI certified stores will include:

  • Skylights (where applicable) to harvest daylight for 90% of the store;
  • Reflective roof;
  • Energy Star-rated HVAC equipment that exceeds ASHRAE standards:
  • T5 lighting (more than 30% more efficient than typical retail lighting and will contribute to more than 20% reduction in energy use);
  • Daylight and occupancy sensors;
  • Tankless instant hot water heaters, low flush toilets, low flow urinals and automatic shutoff sensors in restrooms;
  • Interior finishes made up of low-VOC emitting materials and finishes;
  • Energy management system allows tracking of energy usage and trends from one central location; and
  • 100% Energy Star-rated building equipment and appliances.

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