Timberland Breaks New LEED Ground

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The Timberland Co. continues to expand upon its commitment to protecting the environment and reducing global warming. In its most recent initiative, Timberland earned LEED certifications for its 1,400-sq.-ft. store in North Shore Mall, Peabody, Mass., and 1,200-sq.-ft. unit in Rockingham Mall, Salem, N.H. Timberland is the first company to achieve LEED certification specifically for mall-based retail stores.

“The Peabody store was awarded LEED gold certification, and the Salem store received silver,” said Allan Buell, project manager, store planning and construction, The Timberland Co., Stratham, N.H. “The difference between the two stores in the levels of certification was totally site dependent, and involved things we had no control over, such as available public transport. The Peabody store, for instance, gained points because there’s a bus stop at the mall.”

In addition, Timberland was able to earn more points for the Peabody store by recycling 90% of the construction waste. In Salem, by contrast, only about 50% of the waste was recyclable.

With the exception of the site differences, the locations (both takeovers of existing stores) used the same criteria to earn LEED certification. They feature the same materials and finishes, and overall environment.

“The build-out for the two stores was exactly the same,” Buell said.

With their unadorned interiors and exposed beams, the stores are designed to reflect the ageless craftsmanship and natural qualities of the Timberland product line. One of the key focal points is a dedicated “boot bar” display.

Lighting figures prominently in the stores’ sustainable footprint. The design is extremely energy efficient, utilizing fewer watts per square foot than even what is allowed under Title 24.

“We’re using metal-halide spots on the sales floor,” Buell said. “Metal halide is the most energy-efficient lighting for retail. It’s more expensive up front, but you get more watts out of the fixture and end up using less energy.”

In addition to the metal-halide spots, the design includes pendant lights, which hang over the centrally located “boot bar.” The pendants use screw-in compact fluorescents.

“Initially, I was afraid the stores would be too dark,” Buell said. “But the truth is most stores—including ours—use more lights than they need. If you do it right, place the lamps in the right places and use the right kind of lamps, it works out fine. We got the most lighting we could for the watts we were allowed. The store looks great and the lighting is beautiful.”

For the flooring, Timberland peeled off the existing carpet and VCT tile (it recycled both materials) and switched to polished concrete. The concrete is low maintenance, according to Buell.

“It doesn’t require any up-keep beyond mopping, with green cleaning products of course,” he added. “Any cleaning products used in the store have to be environmentally friendly.”

In other key sustainable elements, the wall paint and sealants contain no volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Timberland also repurposed 100% of stockroom shelving, and used nearly 100% reclaimed lumber in the store interior, fixtures, wall systems and shelves.

“For the few items where we weren’t able to use reclaimed lumber, we used wood that was FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified,” Buell said.

In addition, water usage was reduced by 50% with specialized technologies, including double-flush toilets and low-flush urinals.

Despite what some retailers believe, it doesn’t cost more to build green, according to Buell. Pursuing LEED certification, however, does involve added expenses.

“First off, to earn LEED certification you have to commission the store, which means you have to hire a third party,” Buell explained. “LEED is a process, one that involves lots of paperwork and documentation. It’s very rigorous. We hired a sustainability consultant to help us get through it all.”

That said, he added, Timberland learned a lot from its initial LEED outing. The company plans to seek certification for a factory-outlet store it is building in New York.

“We will continue to build green,” Buell said. “As to going for LEED, we’ll have to see.”

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