A not-as-talked-about dimension to designing and building green is the education piece.
In the shopping-center world, there is a growing responsibility to not only create sustainable shopping, dining and lifestyle experiences, but also educate visitors on why and how these sustainable elements are important to them. Columbus, Ohio-based M+A Architects helped implement a number of these green educational tools with retail developers to teach shopping-center visitors the benefits of sustainable living, including:
- Recycling programs: Interactive advertisement boards notify guests of the quantity of materials recycled (or diverted from landfill) over a set timeline.
- Water usage: Placards above the waterless urinals and dual flush toilets inform users of the numbers of gallons of water saved each year by using these types of urinals and toilets.
- Solar education: Interactive screens display in real time the amount of solar energy being generated to offset the pull from the electric grid.
- Low-emissions parking: Placards on parallel parking spaces explain that spaces are reserved for low-emissions vehicles only.
- Landscaping: Some developers incorporate signage that educates visitors about locally grown drought-resistant plants that help save water.
- Lighting: Signage accompanying holiday lighting explains how LED lighting saves power and offers stats on the amount of power that lights have saved.
“Sustainable education elements don’t have to be expensive or overly complicated,” said M+A Architects director of business development Matt Canterbury, LEED AP. “It’s simple, important touches that call out a small change or add another dimension to the project that really show people how easy it is to be conscious of the environment and conserve resources.”
Sainsbury’s wins eco award for use of NCR’s two-sided receipt-printing technology
Duluth, Ga. Sainsbury’s, which operates more than 500 supermarkets and 290 convenience stores throughout the United Kingdom, has been awarded the Business Commitment to the Environment Environmental Leadership Award 2009 for being the first European retailer to roll out a receipt printer that prints on both sides of the paper simultaneously.
The printer (NCR RealPOS Two-Sided Thermal Receipt Printer) can reduce receipt-paper usage by up to 45% and consume less power. With this technology Sainsbury’s anticipates savings of 502,000 receipt rolls per year — cutting its receipt-paper usage by around two-fifths.
Dennis Fuller, Sainsbury’s head of store IT installations, commented, “The BCE Environmental Leadership Award recognizes the efforts that Sainsbury’s and NCR have put into improving the environmental performance of our tills. This includes NCR’s innovative receipt printers, which print on both sides of the paper simultaneously. This technology not only provides environmental benefits, but also provides our shoppers with shorter, more manageable receipts, faster print times and fewer stoppages for receipt roll changes.”
The achievement in winning the Business Commitment to the Environment — Environmental Leadership Award 2009, follows Sainsbury’s and NCR’s success in winning the European Retail Solutions Best Green IT Initiative Award 2008.
Sainsbury’s has taken the lead in pushing the responsible retailing agenda and is recognized by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index 2008/09 as being in the top 10% of global food retailers. This has been achieved through a range of initiatives, from helping customers break their “plastic bag habit” by encouraging the use of reusable bags to building a series of environmentally friendly stores and distribution centers. The supermarket has also pledged to reduce its CO2 emissions by 25% per square meter, against a 2005/06 baseline.
Report: Green strategies pay off
New York City Retailers who pursue a green agenda have a significant opportunity to reduce costs, according to a new study by SSA & Co., a global operations consulting firm.
The study: “Going Green in the Retail Industry,” draws on more than 20 environmental projects with some of the world’s leading retail companies. The study found that retailers were able to improve their performance by an average of 30% to 40% in such areas as energy consumption, recycling, and waste reduction, saving those companies tens of millions of dollars annually.
“Going green isn’t just good corporate citizenship — it’s a strategy for driving out inefficiency,” says Suzanne Long, retail practice leader, SSA & Co., which helps companies go green through process improvement methodology.
According to Long, efforts to reduce environmental waste ought to be a huge target for retail managers. A recent study of the grocery industry, for example, estimated that nearly $20 billion worth of food products are thrown into the waste stream annually.
“Retailers should be attacking these issues with full force, not only because it’s good for the environment, but because it’s an incredible opportunity to improve financial performance,” Long said.
The study also provides examples of the impact of utilizing process improvement methodologies in green projects. For example, working with SSA, one major U.S. retail company reduced cardboard and plastic waste by more than 4 million lbs. annually, reduced compactor waste by more than 10 million lbs. annually, and reduced total bag utilization by 8%, or more than 14 million bags per year.