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Speeding Up: Off-the-Shelf Green Big-Box Stores

Posted 16 January 2009 by Anastasia O'Rourke to Opinion.

One of the biggest complaints people have against green certification is time (well maybe also cost, but that’s nothing new). It takes time to figure out if a complex product, building or company is meeting all the various criteria – especially where complicated global supply chains are involved.

How to speed up and save money doing this? Big-box retail and the USGBC may have cracked the code.

Case in point: Office Depot has had a prototype store certified LEED Gold by the USGBC under its new pilot portfolio program (cudos to the Sustainable Life Media blog for the story). This means that for each new Office Depot store that uses the prototype, is automatically certified under LEED.  Looks like the conditions are that Office Deport also “manage the new construction process from the ground up”.

This makes total sense for companies whose trajectory is already to make all their buildings or products virtually identical (like big box stores, malls, fast food etc). But it kind of goes against the idea of good design being responsive to the local environ’s from an aesthetic, cultural, and even local ecology point of view…  I am sure that’s already come up in discussion at Home Depot and the USGBC. So if you’re reading guys, we’d love to hear about it.

We’re also interested to see how many future Office Depot stores do indeed follow the prototype and gain the certification. And, what are their calculations for savings being achieved? If you are going down the efficiency track, might as well get some nice graphs and stats out of it!