WEST CHESTER, OH , Jan. 24 /CSRwire/ - IKEA, the world’s leading home furnishings retailer, today officially plugged-in the solar energy system installed at its Cincinnati-area store in West Chester, Ohio. The 128,000-square-foot PV array consists of a 1,026-kW system, built with 4,186 panels. IKEA West Chester’s program will produce approximately 1,334,300 kWh of clean electricity annually, the equivalent of reducing 1,014 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), eliminating the emissions of 180 cars or powering 115 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 West Chester installation represents the 14th completed solar energy project for IKEA in the United States, with 23 more locations underway, making the eventual U.S. solar presence of IKEA nearly 85% and a total generation of 30.8 MW.
For the development, design and installation of the West Chester store’s customized solar power system, IKEA contracted with REC Solar, one of the largest U.S. solar electric installers with more than 8,000 systems built nationwide.
Our mission is to create a better everyday life for the many people, and at IKEA West Chester, we just added to this effort,” said Heather Spatz, IKEA West Chester store manager. “A solar energy system will help reduce our store’s carbon footprint and represents another investment toward our future in this community. We appreciate the support of West Chester Township, Butler County, Duke Energy, and REC Solar, 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, phasing out the sale of incandescent light bulbs and facilitating recycling of customers’ compact fluorescent bulbs. IKEA also is installing electric vehicle charging stations at nine stores in the Western U.S.
Located on 30 acres along I-75 near the Union Centre exit, the 344,000-s.f. IKEA store opened in March 2008. In addition to 10,000 exclusively designed items, IKEA West Chester presents 50 different room-settings, three model home interiors, a supervised children’s play area, and a 400-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 strives 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.