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Office Depot Opens First ‘Green’ Store

Office Depot opened its first “green” store earlier this summer.

The store, located here, was designed to use less energy and water in its daily operations, has increased recycling operations and is said to leave a much smaller environmental footprint than the typical big-box store.

“We took a series of innovative green design elements used in Office Depot store locations across the country and brought them together in our new store prototype,” noted Ed Costa, the office supply chain’s construction VP. “Through the construction phase of this prototype design we used a wide range of greener building products and practices.”

Those include:

  • T5 energy-efficient lighting, which is more than 30-percent more efficient than traditional, incandescent lighting;
  • more than 50 active skylights that adjust with the path of the sun and provide natural light to more than 90 percent of the store;
  • solar panels on the roof, which generate about 10 percent of the store’s energy needs and power the exterior Office Depot signage;
  • reflective roofing, which features a membrane that helps to prevent absorption of the heat from the sun and keeps the interior of the store much cooler;
  • steel decking and joists made of more than 85 percent recycled steel and recycled concrete partitions composed of more than 95 percent recycled materials;
  • water conservation interior fixtures, including dual flush toilets, low-flow urinals and automatic shutoff sensors in restrooms that will use more than 40 percent less water than the typical facility;
  • an exterior landscaping system featuring “xeriscaping,” a water-efficient technique;
  • native plants that require no additional irrigation for sustenance;
  • an energy-management system that allows tracking of energy usage and trends from one central location;
  • an emphasis on non-toxic, EnergyStar-certified office supplies, technology and furniture options that are remanufactured and/or produced with recycled content; and
  • an in-store recycling center with environmental solutions including ink- and toner-cartridge recycling, a tech recycling service, and cellphone and rechargeable battery recycling.

Another innovative aspect of the Office Depot green store is a new approach to visual merchandising. The interior walls feature educational vignettes about how the store and product assortment are both greener, and customers are welcomed by an informational board containing facts and details on what makes the store green.

Store associates will also be armed with tips and recommendations to help customers learn how to “green” their own homes and businesses.

“Office Depot has an environmental vision to increasingly buy green, be green and sell green,” said Yalmaz Siddiqui, Office Depot’s environmental strategy director. “While we have already achieved dramatic reductions in carbon emissions from our existing facilities, this new store takes us to a completely new level of energy efficiency, carbon reduction and waste reduction. The pre-certification of our prototype further establishes Office Depot as the green leader in the office products industry.”

The store was also pre-certified to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards set by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), which was founded in Austin.

“We are looking forward to taking care of business for our Austin customers at our first pre-certified ‘green’ store,” said Chuck Rubin, Office Depot’s North American retail president. “Not only can customers choose from thousands of greener office products within Office Depot’s industry-leading assortment, but they will also have a better understanding of why a particular product is green and how they can make sustainable products a part of their home office or business environment.”

Office Depot further demonstrated its commitment to the greening of the city of Austin by having the Office Depot Foundation make a $5,000 donation to Keep Austin Beautiful, an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, during the store’s ribbon cutting ceremony.