Ikea’s Live Oak, Texas store has earned the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification Gold level from the US Green Building Council (USGBC). LEED is the most widely used sustainable buildings rating system in the world and provides a framework for healthy, highly efficient, and cost-saving sustainable buildings.
The LEED certification program assesses building design and construction in terms of energy efficiency, water usage, air quality, choice of building materials, and environmental factors like access to public transportation and responsible land use. Buildings are awarded points for these categories based on the extent that various sustainable strategies are achieved.
Some of the building and site features incorporated into the Live Oak store that helped it achieve LEED Gold status include:
- Photovoltaic panels to produce clean energy on site
- Charging stations to support customers with electric vehicles
- Carpool-preferred parking to encourage customers to carpool to the store to reduce transportation emissions
- Use of concrete in parking and sidewalks instead of asphalt to reduce global warming effects
- Low-flow bathroom and kitchen fixtures to reduce the water use in the building by half
- Well-insulated exterior walls to reduce heat loss and energy used
- LED lighting to reduce energy consumption
- High-efficiency heating and cooling system to reduce energy consumption
- Recycling stations to encourage customers and co-workers to recycle
- Building materials that are made from recycled ingredients to reduce the impact on the environment
- Sourcing 75% of the building materials from regional vendors to reduce transportation emissions
- Paint, finishes, floors, and interior walls are constructed from low-VOC (volatile organic compound) materials to improve the indoor air quality
- Isolation of chemicals used in the building in separate air-tight rooms to reduce human exposure to cleaning and other chemicals
- Native plant species to eliminate the need for irrigation
Other Ikea LEED-certified buildings in the U.S. include: Ikea Brooklyn, Ikea West Chester, Ikea Portland, Ikea Orlando, Ikea Stoughton, Ikea Oak Creek, the Joliet distribution center, and the US Service Office.
The retail company has also been cutting waste recently. In 2019, Ikea Retail US announced plans to implement returns optimization technology made by Optoro in 10 distribution centers, 50 retail stores, and their customer support center in the United States. The retailer expects that the platform will help reduce waste from its reverse supply chain.
Returns create costly financial and environmental problems, Ikea Retail US says. Citing data from the National Retail Federation, the retailer noted that $400 billion in goods are returned every year in the US. “Historically, many returns end up in landfills and the transportation of these goods contributes to retail’s carbon footprint,” the retailer said.