IKEA ‘LEEDs’ the way on sustainability
IKEA is making a big statement about its commitment to sustainability with its new distribution center in Illinois.
The Netherland-based retailer announced that its Midwest distribution center, which is under construction about 30 miles outside of Chicago, Ill., has been awarded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification from the United States Green Building Council, a first for IKEA properties in the U.S.
The future 1.25-million-square-foot distribution center is on 72 acres of land at the Laraway Crossings Business Park. The company says that the center will enhance the IKEA distribution network with its central location and will allow for goods to be received at coastal ports from both Asia and Europe.
“At IKEA, we value the importance of having a positive impact on the communities we are a part of,” said Lars Petersson, IKEA U.S. President. “Having our distribution center in Joliet certified LEED Gold is a prime example of how IKEA believes it can do good business while minimizing impacts on the environment. It is consistent with our goal of being energy independent by 2020.”
One of the environmentally friendly highlights of the distribution center is its 268,920-square-foot solar array built with 9,036 solar panels. The array, currently the largest in Illinois, will produce approximately 3,377,000 kWh of electricity annually for the facility, the equivalent of reducing 2,513 tons of carbon dioxide which is equal to the emissions of 538 cars or providing electricity for 377 homes yearly.
The IKEA distribution center project designer and builder, Gray Construction, along with Vertegy L.L.C., were working together with IKEA in hopes of receiving the LEED Gold Certification for the new center.
“Gray is proud to be part of the LEED Gold achievement with IKEA,” said Stephen Gray, President and Chief Executive Officer of Gray Construction. “Having worked with IKEA for nearly 20 years, the strong partnership between the companies truly speaks to being able to meet this great accomplishment.”
The winning selection for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program is based on the design, construction, maintenance and operations of high-performance green buildings. The rating system used for new construction is a point-based system, with a maximum of 109 points, and is divided up into categories that address the site, water use reduction, energy use reduction, material use, indoor air quality, innovation and other environmental factors. A project must achieve each of the prerequisites and enough points to complete certification in one of four categories: Certified (40 points), Silver (50 Points), Gold (60 points) and Platinum (80 points or more).
As of Feb., IKEA has 413 stores worldwide and over 817 million customer visits every year.