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REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc.) takes its commitment to environmental stewardship to the next level in Boulder, Colo. The 44,000-sq.-ft. store is designed to meet the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver standards for commercial interiors, and to serve as a working laboratory to analyze the performance of green-building features and new retail concepts. Findings from the site will be used to help the outdoor gear and apparel company make decisions on how it approaches green design and construction going forward.

REI’s commitment to reducing its environmental footprint is evident throughout the space. The materials used were all chosen for their minimal impact on the environment. Bamboo, recycled rubber and cork, were incorporated on the floor, perimeter walls, fixtures, displays, benches and table tops. The overall design scheme is meant to be reminiscent of nature, and is reflected in both the exterior architecture and interior decor elements.

The smart building design is aimed at energy efficiency, water conservation and indoor air quality. Three solar strategies—passive solar, solar electric and solar thermal—were incorporated into the design. Natural daylight is channeled from the roof throughout the store through a system that utilizes highly reflective funnel-shaped tubes.

Additionally, and in what is the first installation of building-integrated photovoltaics of its kind in a retail environment, a soaring entryway skylight collects energy from imbedded silicon solar cells. A solar hot-water system will meet 70% of the store’s hot-water needs, with the water supplied through efficient plumbing fixtures.

Located at the center of the store is an elevated, glass-enclosed community center, a first for REI. The nearly 2,000-sq.-ft. space is exclusively dedicated as a resource for the community to learn more about the outdoors and opportunities to protect shared natural spaces.

From start to finish, REI Boulder is a store that embodies the values that make REI unique: community involvement, environmental stewardship and a commitment to serve as a gateway to the outdoors.

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