Kohl's earns LEED 'pre-certifications' for buildings yet to be built

Starting in spring 2012, all new stores will be built to the specifications of a Gold-level prototype under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program.

So, I didn't even know that this was possible. And yet, Kohl's Departments Stores has managed to earn Gold pre-certifications under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program for dozens of new stores that it plans to build starting in spring 2012.

That's because the company has created a prototype that has been assessed and rated under the LEED for Retail: New Construction rating system. Kohl's says that it is the first company in the United States to earn this designation. The system is part of the LEED Volume Program, which was originally launched back in November 2010.

So, technically speaking, each of the new buildings won't actually receive the certifications until after it is finished and the company explicitly has applied for the certifications.

Kohl's has an active corporate sustainability and green building program. Already, more than 90 of the new stores that it has built since fall 2009 have been LEED certified. Some of them have been certified at the Silver level; the new Gold LEED store prototype replaces the design that the retailer has been using for the past three years. In addition, more than 100 existing Kohl's stores have managed to earn LEED certifications, while another 60 locations have been registered.

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 designation 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 new year and more than 500 by 2015."

Among the considerations that the Kohl's store prototype considers, and that will be used toward the Gold certifications:

  • Interior water use
  • Site selection
  • Access to alternative transportation
  • Site development
  • Stormwater management

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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