Can Corporate Sustainability & Economic Growth Coexist?
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PITTSBURGH, Jul. 17 /CSRwire/ - IKEA, the world’s leading home furnishings retailer, today officially plugged-in the new solar energy system installed at its Pittsburgh-area store in Robinson Township, Pennsylvania. The 86,800-square-foot PV array consists of a 694-kW system, built with 2,884 panels. IKEA Pittsburgh’s program will produce approximately 852,200 kWh of clean electricity annually, the equivalent of reducing 648 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), eliminating the emissions of 115 cars or powering 73 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. Since 2000, IKEA Pittsburgh hosted a 31kW PPA (power purchase agreement) array that was removed to facilitate installation of the new system, owned and operated by IKEA. Including this system now operational at IKEA Pittsburgh, there are 22 completed solar energy projects for IKEA in the United States, with 17 more locations underway, making the eventual U.S. solar presence of IKEA nearly 89% with a total generation of 38 MW.
For the development, design and installation of the Pittsburgh store’s customized solar power system, IKEA contracted with REC Solar, Inc., a national leader in solar electric system design and installation with more than 8,000 systems built across the U.S.
“Our mission is to create a better everyday life for the many people, and at IKEA Pittsburgh, we just added to this effort,” said Terri Noble, store manager. “This solar energy system will help reduce the store’s carbon footprint and represents another investment toward our future in this community. We appreciate the support of the Robinson Township, PECO and REC Solar, Inc., 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. IKEA also has installed electric vehicle charging stations at nine stores in the Western U.S.
Located on 14.2 acres along Park Manor Boulevard off the new I-376 corridor in Robinson Township, the 221,000-square-foot IKEA Pittsburgh opened in July 1989. In addition to 10,000 exclusively designed items, the store presents 35 different room-settings, a supervised children’s play area, and a 180-seat indoor/outdoor restaurant serving Swedish specialties such as meatballs with lingonberries and salmon plates, as well as American dishes. Other family-friendly features include preferred parking, a ‘Children’s IKEA’ area in the accessories Marketplace, and play areas throughout the store. IKEA also offers a product picking and delivery service, and free membership to the IKEA Family loyalty program.
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.
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