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LEED for Retail Finally Set to Debut

BY Marianne Wilson

It’s official: After years in the development and pilot phases, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Retail has been approved. At press time, the U.S. Green Building Council was expected to announce an official launch of late 2010.

“Once it launches, all retailers seeking LEED certification will be required to build according to this new rating system,” said Justin Doak, founder and CEO, Ecoxera, Austin, Texas. “In the meantime, retail projects can continue to register under LEED 2009 for New Construction or LEED 2009 for Commercial Interiors.”

The new certification actually consists of two separate rating-system tracks—LEED for Retail: New Construction and Major Renovation and LEED for Retail: Commercial Interiors. The difference between the two is all based on control, according to Doak.

“New construction is for retailers that control the shell of the building and influence over the site,” he explained. “Commercial Interiors is a green benchmark for the tenant improvement market, where site or shell of building is typically out of control, so mall and lifestyle retail tenants should use this path.”

LEED for Retail was developed specifically to address the unique needs and issues of a retail facility (including supermarkets, freestanding stores, in-line mall tenants, restaurants and banks). It took many of the existing credits in other LEED ratings systems and tailored them to meet the specific needs of retail outlets. LEED for Retail captures both a building’s physical systems (design, equipment, land use, etc.) as well as its operation.

“The pilot project teams provided real market feedback on how to apply LEED for New Construction and LEED for Commercial Interiors to retail spaces,” Doak explained.

The retailers that took part in the process and achieved certification through the LEED Retail pilot program are a diverse group and include Office Depot, Kohl’s, Chipotle, Wachovia, Coldwater Creek, Safeway, Bank of America, REI, McDonald’s and Whole Foods Market, to name a few.

As far as volume certification, a process whereby the USGBC would streamline the certification process for the same building type but a different site, it is still in development.

“But essentially volume will work with any LEED platform,” Doak said.

The original USGBC Rating Systems were not compatible with retail projects’ need for water and energy efficiency, space requirements for front- and back-of-house, and typical retail occupancies.

Understanding the New Rating System:

To help retailers navigate the new LEED for Retail rating system, Ecoxera, in partnership with Chain Store Age and the International Council of Shopping Centers, has developed a webinar, the LEED for Retail Educational Series. The program is made up of three parts or modules: Introduction to LEED Retail, Technical Credit Variances, and LEED Integration & Beyond. It is scheduled to launch live on Sept. 21, 2010 and will be available for download on Oct. 14.

“What you don’t know can hurt you—understanding LEED for Retail is critical to any retailer that is evaluating the appropriate green benchmark for their real estate sustainability efforts,” said Justin Doak, founder and CEO, Ecoxera, Austin, Texas. Doak previously worked for the U.S. Green Building Council, where he managed the technical development of the LEED Retail New Construction and LEED Retail Commercial Interiors green building platforms.

Doak stressed that the webinar is not an advertisement for the new rating system. Instead, it is intended to provide background as to how the program operates and, at a time where new green building and design systems have emerged, to help retailers and other professionals determine whether or not LEED certification is a good fit for their company.

“Retailers often quickly jump into LEED without knowing what it will require and how it is best incorporated into their operational structure,” Doak said.

For information on the webinar, go to ecoxera.com.

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Five ways to reduce risk and increase efficiencies with the right service provider

BY CSA STAFF

By Monte Boyer, [email protected]

For more than two years now, retail facility managers have been hunkering down; deferring maintenance and postponing facility upgrades until the economy shows signs of improvement. Although "waiting for the dust to settle" is an understandable strategy for survival, it is not without risk. Dollars deferred today may pale in comparison to the ultimate cost of postponed maintenance. Equipment that hasn’t been properly serviced can become increasingly inefficient, unreliable or — even worse — prematurely fail.

Retail facility managers can reduce that risk, and at the same time increase efficiencies, by partnering with the right service provider. A good HVAC partner can help facility managers overcome some of the challenges posed by today’s economic environment through consolidation of efforts across both facilities and services, and by creating operational and energy efficiencies.

As a facility manager, here’s how you can reduce risk and increase efficiencies with the right service provider:

1. Select a vendor with the largest reach possible
Do yourself a favor; reduce your dependence on multiple, local vendors to perform maintenance. Instead, select a vendor that partners with you across your portfolio — preferably someone with national capabilities. Whether you’re responsible for eight facilities or 8,000, you can drive down costs through consolidation to one vendor that can meet all your needs. They’re out there. Some national service providers have thousands of technicians in place across the country. Service providers that are backed by a national or global infrastructure offer:

  • Quality control: By working with a national vendor, you can eliminate the huge variations in quality that are inevitable when contracting for service with a variety of local vendors.
  • Efficiency: Consolidation streamlines the maintenance process. Instead of dispatching calls, statusing issues and reviewing invoices of multiple vendors, one call to a single point of contact is all that is required. With the time saved, you and your staff can turn your attention to revenue-generating activities.
  • Reliability: Service calls can’t always wait. Larger service providers are available 24/7/365.

2. Select a vendor with single-source accountability
Not only should you select a vendor that can execute nationally, choose one that delivers expertise across multiple services. Here’s where the efficiencies grow exponentially. Top-tier service providers offer expertise in everything from HVAC, janitorial, lighting, refrigeration, fire and safety to energy efficiency and sustainability; a suite of expert services managed by a single point of contact. One call ensures consistent performance, value and responsive service across all sites.

3. Select a self-performing vendor
Avoid working with a vendor who will manage contractors but outsource the work. Instead, partner with a provider whose employees actually perform the facility services. Self-performing providers make you their only priority. They take ownership of the work. And with a self-performing vendor, you can avoid subcontractor markups. With a national HVAC consolidator, you may have passed along the headache of managing multiple HVAC providers but you have not eliminated it.

4. Select a single-source provider to increase operational efficiency and effectiveness
Choose one provider that can see the big picture. If you currently work with 15 different HVAC vendors, and ask them to prioritize equipment replacement, you’ll get 15 different perspectives. Conversely, a single-source provider will consider all equipment from all facilities when identifying critical needs and setting priorities. By working with one point of contact who has a greater view of your portfolio, you can be confident that priority is given to issues most critical to your business. Strategic investments made today when costs are lower can provide your organization with a competitive cost advantage for many years.

5. Select a single-source provider to increase energy efficiency
Partner with a provider that can show you how to increase energy efficiency. The key will be getting access to facility data that’s relevant, meaningful and actionable — which the right service provider can deliver. Today’s most advanced technologies allow you monitor building performance in real time; identifying trends within buildings and across portfolios, spotting areas of concern and flagging underperformers. Some commercial control systems actually monitor themselves and send notifications when there’s a noteworthy event or when it’s time for a service call.

When priorities do call for the replacement of equipment, the right providers make sure you’re choosing the most energy-efficient solutions. Ideally, they even help to identify ways to leverage federally- or utility-sponsored rebate programs.

The right service provider
Choosing the right service provider requires careful consideration. Take the time to identify vendors who have national reach and are single-source, self-performing providers with demonstrated expertise in energy and operational efficiency. By partnering with a top-tier vendor, retail facility managers can reduce risk, increase efficiency and overcome some of the challenges posed by today’s economic environment.

Monte Boyer is VP and general manager, Johnson Controls National Service. Johnson Controls is an OEM supplier with over 125 years of experience in the HVAC industry. With more than 150 local branches throughout the United States and Canada, Johnson Controls National Service provides retail customers with innovative solutions and an expertise in HVAC, refrigeration, security and fire safety, as well as lighting applications. For additional information on Johnson Controls National Service visit www.johnsoncontrols.com or contact Monte at [email protected].

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Staples puts Kindle on Christmas list

BY CSA STAFF

Beginning this fall, Staples will offer several variants of Amazon.com’s popular Kindle wireless ereader device in its nearly 1,600 U.S. stores, the company announced Tuesday. Staples will offer a base model Kindle for $139, the Kindle 3G for $189 and the large-screen Kindle DX for $379.

“As part of our efforts to offer customers a wide range of top technology products and services at amazing values, the new Kindle is a natural fit,” said Jevin Eagle, Staples EVP merchandising and marketing.

Staples is the first office superstore to offer the Kindle, however, Target became the first conventional retailer to stock the product when Kindle endcap displays hit its stores several months ago.

The Kindle is Amazon’s best-selling, most-wished-for and most-gifted product for two years running. Although, it is unclear how much demand remains for the device after such strong sales, Staples has secured distribution of the compelling item just in time for what promises to be a challenging holiday season. Kindle promises to bring some needed energy to the office products retailer with interactive displays that allow customers to experience the product before they buy and to learn more about the product. Plans also call for Staples to offer a full assortment of Kindle accessories.

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