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Kohl’s Wins First LEED Volume Gold, Plans 500 Certified Stores

Kohl’s Department Stores has become the first U.S. company to earn Gold precertification using the LEED for Retail: New Construction rating system, and is targeting a total of 500 LEED-certified stores by 2015, the company has announced.

Next spring the Gold precertified prototype will replace the company’s current Silver prototype for new stores, which the company has used since fall 2008. The company says all new Kohl’s stores will be designed and built using the new prototype and will pursue LEED certification post-construction.

Kohl’s aims to reach 300 total LEED certifications by the end of next year.

The LEED Volume Program launched in November 2010, in an effort to streamline the certification process for high-volume property owners. Users of the system include Marriott and InterContinental Hotel Group.

To date, more than 90 new-build Kohl’s stores built to the pilot prototype have earned LEED certification at the Silver or Certified level. In all, Kohl’s has more than 200 total LEED-certified stores.

The company says that relative to its old prototype, the Gold precertified prototype has earned additional credits in the areas of interior water use, site selection, alternative transportation, site development and stormwater management.

Kohl’s existing store prototype was also precertified at the Gold level for the LEED Volume Pilot Program for Operations and Maintenance in 2011, and 100 existing Kohl’s stores have received O&M certification. These stores are certified based on policies such as energy and water-use efficiency and performance, sustainable cleaning, purchasing and recycling.

Kohl’s was among 11 companies, universities and government agencies that helped the U.S. Green Building Council to design the O&M track.

In addition, Kohl’s Rego Park store in Queens, N.Y. and San Antonio, Texas customer service center are certified Gold as LEED for Retail: Commercial Interiors projects, and the company says its Milwaukee-based photo studio became the first LEED Gold photo studio in the nation in 2009.

Kohl’s says that its other key environmental strategies include waste reduction and recycling, stakeholder and supply chain engagement, emission reduction and energy efficiency. It ranks first in retail and second overall on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s list of top green power partners, purchasing enough green power to meet 100 percent of its purchased electricity use.

The company has more than 100 solar locations in nine states, including California, Wisconsin, Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland, Oregon, Colorado, Pennsylvania and Arizona. In spring 2009, the company also launched its first two wind locations at its Findlay, Ohio distribution center and Corpus Christi, Texas store.

Last October the EPA named it a Green Power Partner of the Year for its achievements in using green power.

Kohl’s first corporate sustainability report, released in May this year, showed that the chain lowered its direct emissions per 1,000 square feet in 2009, while opening 40 stores.

The company has more than 600 Energy Star-labeled stores.

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