Kohl's Department Stores (NYSE: KSS) is raising the bar on using green building practices for all new stores.
They plan to have 300 LEED certifications by the end of 2012 and over 500 by 2015.
Since 2008, all new stores have been certified LEED-Silver. Its new prototype which will be used for all new stores starting in 2012 has earned LEED-Gold pre-certification.
As of 2010, Kohl's has 140 LEED-certified locations including new and existing buildings and tenant spaces. 90 are certified LEED-Silver and 20 more will be certified in the coming months.
The LEED rating system for Retail was upgraded in 2009, with standards raised for most categories, including energy efficiency, water use, regional priorities and an increased focus on sustainable sites and alternative transportation.
Kohl's also certifies existing stores using the LEED Volume Pilot Program for Operations and Maintenance. The "volume" certification allows companies with many sites to be certified in "bulk" rather than one at a time.
Existing stores are certified for having sustainable operations and maintenance policies such as energy and water-use efficiency and performance, green cleaning, purchasing, recycling, etc. Over 100 stores are certified and 60 more are registered for evaluation.
Kohl's Rego Park store in Queens, N.Y. and its San Antonio, Texas customer service center are certified LEED-Gold for Commercial Interiors. 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.
Green features at its stores include regionally-sourced 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 environmental education programs.
Kohl's also runs on 100% renewable energy and is one of the top clean energy purchasers in the US. That contributed to its achievement of net zero greenhouse gas emissions in 2010 as did its efforts in waste reduction and recycling, stakeholder and supply chain engagement, emission reductions and energy efficiency.
Over 100 stores have solar roofs; its Findlay, Ohio distribution center and Corpus Christi, Texas store have wind installations. It has over 600 ENERGY STAR-certified stores. And Kohl's was included in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index this year.