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Largest solar array in Virginia now plugged-in atop Ikea

BY Marianne Wilson

Woodbridge, Va. — Ikea officially plugged-in the solar energy system installed atop its store in Woodbridge, Va. The state’s largest such photovoltaic array, the 63,000-sq.-ft. PV installation consists of a 504-kW system, built with 2,100 panels.

The system will produce approximately 636,199 kWh of clean electricity annually, the equivalent of reducing 439 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), eliminating the emissions of 86 cars or powering 55 homes yearly.

Ikea contracted with Gehrlicher Solar America Corp., part of Gehrlicher AG, tor the development, design and installation of the Woodbridge store’s customized solar power system. The home-furnishings retailer owns and operates each of its solar PV energy systems atop its buildings – as opposed to a solar lease or PPA (power purchase agreement). The Woodbridge installation represents the 21st completed solar energy project for Ikea in the United States, with 18 more locations underway, making the chain’s eventual U.S. solar presence nearly 89% with a total generation of 38 MW.

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Visionworks to open 17 stores in Philadelphia market by end of 2012

BY Marianne Wilson

Philadelphia — Visionworks, the largest wholly owned U.S.-based optical retailer, has opened its first store in the Philadelphia area. Located in Deptford Township, N.J., it is the first of more than 25 stores expected to open in the market through 2013.

The San Antonio-based retailer plans to open 17 stores before the end of 2012 and additional locations by April 2013.

"Philadelphia is an ideal market to expand our business, and we are looking forward to serving Philadelphia-area residents," said Visionworks president Jim Eisen.

Visionworks (formerly Eye Care Centers of America, Inc.) operates more than 550 optical retail stores in 39 states and the District of Columbia under 12 different banners.

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Office Depot honored as Energy Star Leader for 2012

BY Marianne Wilson

Boca Raton, Fla. — Office Depot announced that it has been named to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) list of 2012 Energy Star Leaders for Leadership in Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Office Depot’s significant energy reduction makes the retailer the first ever retailer in the United States to be recognized for a 30% or greater improvement.

In the baseline year of 2004, Office Depot facilities emitted 381,689 metric tons of carbon dioxide. By 2011, the carbon footprint of Office Depot’s facilities was 239,319 metric tons — a reduction of over 140,000 metric tons, or 37% over the seven year period. This is equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of nearly 28,000 passenger vehicles.

"Office Depot is pleased to be recognized as an ENERGY STAR Leader for the second time,” said Edward Costa, VP construction for Office Depot. "Becoming the first retailer to achieve 30 percent or greater energy reduction further demonstrates our commitment to environmental leadership as we continue to implement a range of initiatives that uphold the company’s global environmental strategy to Buy Greener, Be Greener and Sell Greener.”

The achievement was accomplished as a result of investing in energy efficiency and green building initiatives. Such projects have included a major de-lamping effort and a change to energy efficient lamps, reflectors and ballasts; the installation of motion detectors in receiving areas; continued upgrades to building HVAC systems; and aggressive energy management controls and monitoring.

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