Americans have come to expect environmentally conscious materials and processes in virtually every aspect of their lives. We now work "green" and vacation "green," and who would have believed that driving a car could be done in an environmentally friendly way?
Business Roundtable members take their responsibility to "green" the world for their employees, customers and shareholders very seriously. And there are countless initiatives our members are implementing to support better business in a better world, such as developing and utilizing new technologies that use energy more efficiently, and improving the overall efficiency in the commercial and residential sector.The 120 million homes and 7 billion square feet of commercial buildings in the United States account for about 40 percent of total U.S. energy consumption. Business Roundtable companies realize they must take the lead to ensure that businesses adopt and implement the following energy efficiency initiatives to make commercial buildings more sustainable.
Here are just a few ways our members are doing this:
- Investing in efficient appliances, lighting and building materials at manufacturing and office locations.
- Implementing computerized energy management and control systems in facilities along with formalized shutdown procedures when lights and equipment are not required.
- Offering "green" mortgages that provide financial incentives for home purchasers to invest in efficiency upgrades.
- Setting ambitious energy efficiency goals for operations; sharing energy-saving strategies, technologies and best practices with industry peers; and monitoring and reporting efficiency gains.
Many of our member companies are already leading the way towards improving the energy footprint of their buildings. By sharing how leading member companies are in fact leading , Business Roundtable encourages other companies to follow in their footsteps and continue down the path toward sustainability.
Office Depot is taking this concept to a new level. Their customers have long been able to select from among thousands of green products at Office Depot stores. The company has a bold environmental vision to "increasingly buy green, be green and sell green" and, under this vision, has launched a number of industry firsts, including a green catalog, a green Web site, and a green brand.
But now Office Depot customers can shop in a green store as well. In February, Office Depot became the first retailer to break ground on a store registered under the Retail Volume Working Group, a leadership group organized by the United States Green Building Council(USGBC). USGBC is a non-profit organization dedicated to expanding sustainable building practices, transforming the way buildings and communities are designed, built and operated, and promoting social and environmental justice.
Upon completion in June, this innovative new store, located in Austin, TX, has already achieved pre-certification to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design(LEED) standards, ensuring it meets high standards of environmentally leading design. The construction process used environmentally preferable materials, it will use substantially less energy to operate than a typical store, and will leave a much smaller environmental footprint overall than a typical retail store of its size.
The store will offer Office Depot customers the same convenient shopping experience as all its stores, but with the added benefit of leading environmental technologies and innovative green education. Customers will feel the cool breeze of high-efficiency ventilation and air conditioning in the summer months and the warmth of high-efficiency heating units in the winter. Lighting will be provided by a combination of T5 Energy-Efficient Lighting (35 percent more efficient than traditional, incandescent lighting) and 52 Active Skylights that will adjust with the path of the sun, providing natural light for 75 percent of the store. Office Depot is one of the first retailers ever to use these innovative solar-tracking skylights (as pictured below), and expects to dramatically reduce the need for electrical lighting because of them.
But that's just the beginning.
Restrooms, employee break rooms and staff offices will feature high-tech sensors that automatically shut off lights to conserve energy. Water-efficient fixtures will reduce the building's overall water use by 30 percent.
And it's not just the systems making a green statement. The walls, floors and even the steel used in the building will be composed mainly of recycled materials, reducing construction refuse in landfills around the country. Additionally, the construction team sourced more than 20 percent of required materials from manufacturers within 500 miles of the site. This slashed the amount of fuel needed for delivery.
While this is only one of the many environmental initiatives that Office Depot is spearheading, it is certainly among the most significant. And it puts the company at the forefront of this new wave of green building and green living.
If you're ever in Austin, take a moment to experience green shopping for yourself. No plans to go to Austin? Not to worry — Office Depot has not just created this ONE store under the LEED program, but has shaped its core design prototype — the blueprint for how all its stores are built — to LEED standards. Stores using similar innovative green technologies will continue to be built by Office Depot in the future.
Buy green. Be green. Sell green. And now, Build Green. Another unique way that Office Depot is taking care of business, and the planet.