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Kohl's Department Stores Becomes First U.S. Company to Earn LEED(R) Gold Precertification for New and Existing Store Prototypes

Company aims to achieve 300 LEED-certified locations by the end of next year, 500 by 2015

Submitted by: Kohl's Department Stores

Categories: Corporate Social Responsibility, Sustainability

Posted: Oct 05, 2011 – 08:00 AM EST


Kohl's Department Stores (NYSE: KSS) today announced that the company’s new store prototype has achieved LEED Gold precertification using the LEED for Retail: New Construction rating system, established by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI), making Kohl’s the first company in the nation to achieve this designation in the LEED Volume Program launched in November 2010.

Beginning in spring 2012, all new Kohl's stores will be designed and constructed using the LEED Gold precertified prototype and will pursue LEED certification post construction. The Gold precertified prototype will replace the company's current new store prototype from the LEED Volume Pilot Program, which is precertified LEED Silver and has been utilized to construct new stores since fall 2008. To date, more than 90 newly constructed Kohl’s stores nationwide built to the pilot prototype have earned LEED certification at the Silver or Certified level, with nearly 20 more expected to receive certification in the coming months.

"As Kohl's continues to invest in our new and existing stores, environmentally responsible building design, construction and operation is a significant consideration and focus area," said John Worthington, Kohl’s Chief Administrative Officer. "Not only do we want to ensure that our stores and facilities provide a convenient, fresh and exciting destination for our customers and partners, we want to do so in a way that demonstrates sustainable practices and principles of leadership for our communities, business partners and industry. We have implemented aggressive efforts to LEED certify our stores and aim to reach 300 total LEED certifications by the end of next year and more than 500 by 2015."

Kohl's precertified LEED Gold store prototype utilizes the most recent version of the LEED rating system, which was launched in 2009. The rating system includes heightened standards in nearly every category of evaluation, including energy efficiency, water use, regional priorities and an increased focus on sustainable sites and alternative transportation. Relative to Kohl's new store pilot prototype, the Gold precertified prototype has earned additional credits in the areas of interior water use and site-specific sustainability measures such as site selection, alternative transportation, site development and stormwater management. 

In addition to construction of its new stores, Kohl's integrates sustainable practices into its existing stores through the LEED Volume Pilot Program for Operations and Maintenance. Under this program, Kohl’s existing store prototype was precertified at the Gold level in 2011. Compared to new construction projects, these stores are LEED certified based on their sustainable operations and maintenance policies such as energy and water-use efficiency and performance, sustainable cleaning, purchasing, recycling and more. To date, more than 100 existing Kohl's stores nationwide have received LEED certification under LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance with more than 60 locations registered and in a performance period. 

The company's Milwaukee-based photo studio became the first LEED Gold photo studio in the nation in 2009. In addition, Kohl's Rego Park store in Queens, N.Y. and San Antonio, Texas customer service center are certified LEED Gold as LEED for Retail: Commercial Interiors projects. The rating system allows retail tenants to certify an interior space within a larger commercial building or complex and gives tenants the power to make sustainable design and construction choices within their space. The company is also pursuing LEED certification for its New York Design office according to these guidelines.

Kohl’s has been an active member of USGBC since 2007 when the company joined the pilot for the LEED Volume Program and LEED for Retail. The LEED green building rating system is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings, which assesses building energy performance, thermal comfort, water efficiency, material selection, operating policies and site selection. Kohl’s has more than 200 total LEED-certified stores to date with features that include regional and recycled building materials, energy efficient building design and building automation systems, water efficient plumbing and irrigation, improved indoor air quality, green cleaning practices, operational recycling and an environmental education program.

Sustainable building design, construction and operation are key components of Kohl's commitment to being a leading environmentally responsible retailer. Other key strategies include waste reduction and recycling, stakeholder and supply chain engagement, emission reduction and energy efficiency. Kohl's is also a leader in efforts surrounding the use and support of renewable energy. To date, the company has more than 100 solar locations in nine states, including California, Wisconsin, Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland, Oregon, Colorado, Pennsylvania and Arizona. Kohl's also ranks first in retail and second overall on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's list of top green power partners, purchasing enough green power to meet 100 percent of its purchased electricity use. In spring 2009, the company also launched its first two wind locations at its Findlay, Ohio distribution center and Corpus Christi, Texas store. In recognition of these efforts, Kohl's was named a 2010 Green Power Partner of the Year and ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year. The company has more than 600 ENERGY STAR-labeled stores nationwide.

Additional information about Kohl's environmental efforts is available at Kohl's comprehensive environmental program, Advancing Environmental Solutions, is part of the Kohl's Cares® philanthropic platform, committed to making communities happier, healthier, greener places to live and work. Additional information about Kohl’s Cares is available at

About Kohl’s Department Stores

Based in Menomonee Falls, Wis., Kohl’s (NYSE: KSS) is a family-focused, value-oriented specialty department store offering moderately priced, exclusive and national brand apparel, shoes, accessories, beauty and home products in an exciting shopping environment. With a commitment to environmental leadership, Kohl’s operates 1,127 stores in 49 states. In support of the communities it serves, Kohl’s has raised more than $180 million for children’s initiatives nationwide through its Kohl’s Cares® cause merchandise program, which operates under Kohl's Cares, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kohl's Department Stores, Inc. For a list of store locations and information, or for the added convenience of shopping online, visit


The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is a Washington, D.C.-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to a prosperous and sustainable future for our nation through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. USGBC works toward its mission of market transformation through its LEED green building certification program, robust educational offerings, a nationwide network of chapters and affiliates, the annual Greenbuild International Conference & Expo, and advocacy in support of public policy that encourages and enables green buildings and communities.

 The LEED® green building certification program is a voluntary, consensus-based national rating system for buildings designed, constructed and operated for improved environmental and human health performance. LEED addresses all building types and emphasizes state-of-the-art strategies in five areas: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials and resources selection, and indoor environmental quality.

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Phone: 262-703-1464
Phone: 262-703-7863

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