Can Corporate Sustainability & Economic Growth Coexist?
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BALTIMORE, Dec. 08 /CSRwire/ - IKEA, the world’s leading home furnishings retailer, today officially plugged-in the solar energy system installed at its store in Baltimore, Maryland. The 77,300-square-foot PV array consists of a 618.2-kW system, built with 2,576 panels. IKEA Baltimore’s program will produce approximately 823,500 kWh of clean electricity annually, the equivalent of reducing 626 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), eliminating the emissions of 111 cars or powering 71 homes yearly (calculating clean energy equivalents at www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-resources/calculator.html).
This investment by IKEA reinforces the company’s long-term commitment to sustainability and confidence in photovoltaic (PV) technology. IKEA owns and operates each of its solar PV energy systems atop its buildings – as opposed to a solar lease or PPA (power purchase agreement) – and this Baltimore installation represents the 13th completed solar energy project for IKEA in the United States, with twenty more locations underway, making the U.S. solar presence of IKEA 75% of its locations, with 26.8 MW of generation capacity.
For the development, design and installation of the Baltimore store’s customized solar power system, IKEA contracted with REC Solar, one of the largest U.S. solar electric installers with more than 7,500 systems built nationwide.
“We are thrilled at how this solar energy system furthers our sustainability commitment at IKEA Baltimore,” said Dannielle Ellington, IKEA Baltimore store manager. “IKEA has a never-ending job where most things still remain to be done. We constantly ask ourselves how we can improve what we do today for a better tomorrow. We appreciate the support of local officials, BGE and REC, our partners in this project.”
IKEA, drawing from its Swedish heritage and respect of nature, believes it can be a good business while doing good business and aims for its operations to minimize impacts on the environment. Globally, IKEA evaluates all locations regularly for energy conservation opportunities, integrates innovative materials into product design, works with Global Forest Watch to maintain sustainable resources, and flat-packs goods for efficient distribution. Specific U.S. sustainable efforts include: recycling waste material (paper, wood, plastic, etc.); incorporating environmental measures into the construction of buildings in terms of energy-efficient HVAC and lighting systems, recycled construction materials, skylights in warehouse areas, and water conserving restrooms; and operationally, eliminating plastic bags from the check-out process, phasing out the sale of incandescent light bulbs and facilitating recycling of customers’ compact fluorescent bulbs. Also, IKEA is installing electric vehicle charging stations at nine stores in the Western U.S.
Located on 12.3 acres on Honeygo Boulevard, west of I-95, the 205,000-s.f. IKEA Baltimore opened in September 1988. In addition to nearly 10,000 exclusively designed items, IKEA Baltimore presents 25 different room-settings, a supervised children’s play area, and a 150-seat restaurant serving Swedish specialties such as meatballs with lingonberries and Gravad Lax plates, as well as American dishes. Other family-friendly features include a ‘Children’s IKEA’ area in the Showroom, baby care rooms, preferred parking and play areas throughout the store.
IKEA aims to be ‘The Life Improvement Store,’ and since its 1943 founding in Sweden, has offered home furnishings of good design and function, at low prices so the majority of people can afford them. There are currently more than 330 IKEA stores in 40 countries, including 38 in the U.S. IKEA incorporates sustainable efforts into day-to-day business and supports initiatives that benefit children and the environment. For more information, go to IKEA-USA.com.
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