LEED Big Box Retailers

Hot on the heels of Best Buy’s announcement to build new stores to LEED standards, we have Office Depot and Staples jumping into the LEED game.  With these announcements, we’re seeing two main trends: (1) the mainstreaming of green buildings and (2) the business case for green buildings, especially in the retail context.  It just makes sense.  But as many other commentators have mentioned, these so called green stores will be energy efficient, made of renewable materials, and will use less water, BUT they’re huge and a by-product of American sprawl.  Without passing judgment, I have the belief that a green retail store is better than a non-green retail store.  It’s a step in the right direction.  More on each company below.

Office Depot (NYSE:ODP) today announced that it would build and open its first LEED-certified retail store in Austin, Texas in mid-2008. Simultaneously, Office Depot has decided to refine its master set of drawings and specifications that comprise its store prototype and will investigate having the prototype LEED-certified as well.  Office Depot has already begun using technology to harvest natural light in its Greensboro, NC store.  By doing so, the company has removed, on average, 250,000 lbs of carbon and greenhouse gases from the environment each year at that store. 

Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS) yesterday announced a groundbreaking event for Miami’s first green retail building registered with the USGBC’s LEED program.  Located at 2121 Biscayne Boulevard, MK Real Estate Group is building the store in compliance with LEED Silver certification standards. If accomplished, this building will be the first LEED-certified retail store in the City of Miami and the first store of its kind for Staples.  Miami Mayor Manny Diaz remarked, "Building green is smart growth and with partners like Staples, the City of Miami can achieve its goal of becoming a model city for sustainable living."