JC Penney has committed to reduce energy consumption 20 percent per gross square foot by 2015 by increasing energy-efficiency improvements and implementing conservation practices, according to the company’s 2009 Corporate Social Responsibility Report. In 2009, the retailer prevented about 80 million pounds of greenhouse gas emissions thanks to its energy-efficiency measures.
The retailer has invested more than $10 million in 2009 to install advanced metering technology, lighting retrofits and high-efficiency HVAC systems in stores across the country.
JCPenney was the first retailer to earn the Energy Star Award for Sustained Excellence and the first to earn the Energy Star label. The company targets Energy Star certifications for a total of 200 stores by the end of 2010.
JCPenney is among 14 commercial buildings that are competing in the first national energy efficiency contest sponsored by the EPA. The building that trims the most kilowatt hours will be declared the winner in October 2010.
The retailer also aims to obtain 25 percent of its total operating power from renewable sources. The company has installed rooftop solar power systems on nine California and New Jersey stores, and has at least three solar projects planned for this year.
The 14,000 solar panels generate 3.7 megawatts of power and provide about 25 percent of the energy needs for the stores. The systems are expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 200 million pounds during their expected 30-year lifetime.
JCPenney also hosts 12 Architectural Wind turbines at its Manchester, Conn. logistics center as part of a joint project with AeroVironment, and is piloting the commercial use of a wind energy system at its Reno, Nev. logistics center. Installation of a second generation design is expected to be completed later this year.
In 2009, JCPenney increased the utilization of “empty miles” or the distances that its contracted delivery trucks drive empty trailers after merchandise has been delivered to their destinations by 208 percent. This resulted in a net reduction of 14.7 million pounds of CO2 emissions and a $5.6 million savings. The company’s goal is to utilize at least 50 percent of its empty backhaul trailers returning from stores.
In addition, 100 percent of the fleet hauling JCPenney merchandise from the Los Angeles, Oakland and Long Beach ports meets local emissions goals slated for 2012.
Other environmental initiatives include the implementation of an office paper recycling program in its stores, and increased chain-of-custody certified fiber used for its catalogs by 20 percent. The company also reduced the amount plastic in clothes hangers by 15 percent and in packaging by 30 percent, which cuts polyethylene consumption by approximately 5o tons annually.
In 2009, JCPenney’s stores and logistics centers recycled approximately 89,000 tons of cardboard, 5,000 tons of plastic and 8,700 tons of plastic hangers. The company recycled about 13 tons of polystyrene in 2009.
The company also decided to replace its 800-page Big Book catalogs with smaller, specialty ones that will cut paper use by approximately 30 percent in 2010.