Eco-friendly home improvement retailer in a retail first
TreeHouse practices what it preaches.
The retailer, which specializes in supplies and services that promote healthy and sustainable spaces, has expanded beyond its Austin home base, opening in Dallas. Its new 35,000-sq.-ft. outpost is billed as the nation's first energy-positive (meaning it will generate more energy than it uses) big-box store.
"This building sets a completely new standard for ecological and human health and is an embodiment of what our company hopes to accomplish for homes as well," said Jason Ballard, co-founder and CEO of TreeHouse. "This store is a signpost to what the future will be like for both homes and retail."
TreeHouse, dubbed the "Whole Foods of home improvement," offers shoppers a curated selection of green products, materials and technologies — some of which are not available elsewhere. It also offers turn-key services and programs, including kitchen and bath design. solar energy kits, home insulation and "smart" home installation.
San Antonio-based architectural firm Lake/Flato used TreeHouse's approach to products and materials selection, in combination with sustainable design practices, to create the store.
"For so long, net-zero energy was this magical aspirational goal," said Ballard. "This building is beyond net-zero…completely new territory."
The architecture of the store is crucial to its energy efficiency. It boasts saw-tooth roofs that are positioned to maximize the effectiveness of its giant, ultra high-efficiency SunPower solar rooftop solar array. (This feature solved the need for extra space for solar panels). The standing-seam metal roof collects rainwater and reflects heat.
In addition, the north facing clerestory windows allow for indirect sunlight to effectively illuminate the interior without the impact of direct heat. This allows for a cooler baseline temperature in the store and minimizing the use of electricity.
A Tesla Powerpack (a rechargeable battery storage system for utility and commercial applications) is located at the center of the store. It stores the power produced by the rooftop solar array, deploying it for evening use and allowing the building to return excess renewable energy to the city's grid.
TreeHouse Dallas is the anchor tenant in The Hill, a North Dallas shopping center that is being refreshed and repositioned by CAPREF Manager.
J.C. Penney concept targets collegiates
J.C. Penney is determined to become college-bound co-eds’ shopping destination for all of their dorm room needs.
The department store retailer is launching its “dorm shops” in 500 stores this week. The 400-sq.-ft. destinations feature a curated selection of bedding, bath and décor products. Rounding out its assortment of dorm essentials, J.C. Penney also offers mini refrigerators, microwaves, portable air conditioning units, and expanded storage solutions. Later this month, the chain will also feature Packard Bell laptops.
All merchandise is also available online. Since many stores are located within 5 miles of most major colleges, J.C. Penney hopes to make move-in day even easier by enabling shoppers to ship their orders to a store located near campus, according to the retailer.
“The National Retail Federation estimates that parents and students will spend more than $6 billion on dorm furnishings this summer, “ said John Tighe, executive VP and chief merchant for J.C. Penney. “J.C. Penney is focused on driving performance and capturing a significant share of this business by expanding the breadth of our dorm offerings to include new categories, such as microwaves and compact refrigerators, conveniently available in stores and online.”
He added, “Customers come to us specifically for our expertly designed and quality-sourced private brands, including J.C. Penney Home, Home Expressions and Cooks, allowing us to increase gross margin potential, while providing exceptional value for budget-minded shoppers.”
Home furnishings giant prepares for another solar project
Ikea’s next solar-powered store is in the works.
The home furnishings giant’s future Jacksonville, Florida store, slated to open in the fall, will be the newest location to feature a solar power system. Panel installation will begin this summer, and is expected to be complete by early fall. This will be Ikea’s fifth solar array in the state of Florida, according to the retailer.
The Jacksonville store’s 251,206-sq.-ft. solar array will consist of a 1.89 MW system, built with 5,472 panels. It will produce approximately 2,753,070 kWh of electricity annually for the store, the equivalent of reducing 2,133 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2).
REC Solar is developing, designing and installing the new store’s solar power system. Marcobay Construction is building the store.
“We are excited about furthering our sustainability commitment and contributing to a low-carbon society with solar atop our future Jacksonville store,” said Lars Petersson, Ikea U.S. president. “We have a mission to create a better everyday life for the many, and Ikea Jacksonville can add to this goal and keep us Florida’s largest non-utility private solar owner.”
This installation will represent the 49th solar project for Ikea in the United States, giving the retailer solar presence atop nearly 90% of its U.S. stores. Consistent with the goal of being energy independent by 2020, the chain has installed more than 700,000 solar panels on buildings across the world, and owns approximately 300 wind turbines, including 104 in the United States.