Retail chain IKEA announced today that all operations in the southern US will be powered by rooftop solar, amounting to a total of 10.7 megawatts (MW) across 9 stores and a distribution center.
IKEA already has solar PV at 12 stores in the U.S. After its southern stores add solar, the company will have solar PV at 75% of its US locations - a total of 26.8 MW.
Globally, IKEA has long been a leader in green product design, energy efficiency for its products and in its operations, and commitment to sourcing materials such as wood from sustainable sources.
Specific U.S. sustainable efforts include: recycling waste material (paper, wood, plastic, etc.); incorporating environmental measures into the construction of buildings, such as 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.
Its latest efforts include a Sustainability Product Score card to help the company purchase and develop products based on environmental impact criteria, and is installing electric vehicle charging stations at nine stores in the Western U.S.
Ikea now owns 67 wind turbines in Europe totaling an impressive 130 MW in Germany, France, Denmark and UK. The company is also building a nine turbine wind farm in Sweden and recently bought a 12.3 MW windfarm in Scotland.
Chief Sustainability Officer Steve Howard estimates Ikea will be generating 70%-80% of its electricity from renewable energy by 2015 and is committed to runnng on 100% renewables.
For the six Florida and Texas stores, IKEA contracted with REC Solar, one of the largest U.S. solar installers, with more than 7,000 systems built nationwide. For the four other locations, IKEA contracted with Gehrlicher Solar America Corp., part of Gehrlicher AG, one of the world's ten largest independent PV project developers and system integrators.
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. It's considered one of the top brands by people in Sweden: