Members of A.R. E.’s Sustainability Council suggest four ways retailers and their project partners
can move toward sustainability.
1 PROMOTE WHAT YOU’RE ALREADY DOING THAT’S GREEN. While not every project aims for the goal of certification, most retailers and suppliers work with eco-friendly
products or sustainability programs on a daily basis. Examples include shopping bags made from recycled materials, fitting-room doors made from reclaimed wood, and lighting retrofits to install energy-efficient bulbs. But
the industry has been slow to promote these efforts. Even less-comprehensive sustainability campaigns will be
noticed if you promote them.
2 ASK SUPPLIERS ABOUT THEIR OPERATIONS. More and more suppliers are incorporating sustainable practices into their day-to-day operations. Examples
include recycling waste created during the production process and managing the amount of energy used during
production. Ask your suppliers if they have a sustainability program and what it entails. After all, is a product really
sustainable if the process used to make it was not?
3 SOURCE REGIONALLY. Eco-minded retailers are beginning to turn to regional manufacturers for fixtures and store elements. Using
local manufacturers gives a boost to the local economy, and reducing the amount of overseas shipping can drastically cut precious time for fast turnaround projects. Some specifiers also feel they have better quality control with
regionally sourced products.
4 LOOK FOR ENERGY SAVINGS. Energy continues to be a strong focus in green retailing. Due to the measurable return, retailers often find
energy-saving strategies more attractive than other green building measures. And they can make a significant
impact with energy reductions due to retail’s heavy consumption of energy. LEED credit ratings also show what a
positive impact energy reduction has on the environment by allocating 37 of the possible 100 points of the rating
system to the Energy and Atmosphere category.
This article is based on a virtual roundtable of
the A.R. E. Sustainability Council, the association’s member group of green building gurus.
Participating in the roundtable were:
AIA, CDT, LEED AP BD+C
Retail Studio Principal
LEED AP BD+C,
Director of Sustainability
Bishop Fixture & Millwork Inc.
Lisa A. Wynne
LEED AP BD+C, EDAC
CEO, EcoScapes Sustainability