Secrets of Sustainable Store Remodels – Part 1

Secrets of Sustainable Store Remodels – Part 1 - GSP

Adding sustainable practices to your store remodel is a win-win opportunity. Make that a win-win-win, because it benefits you, your customers and the environment. A trend that we’ve noticed in the retail industry is the move towards “better for you” products. That thinking extends to the retail store space itself. Consumers – especially millennials – want to shop at stores that care about them and the planet. Almost half say they want to purchase from companies committed to helping the environment.

To put it another way, if you want millennials to buy your products, they need to buy into your brand story. As Colleen Vien, the sustainability director of Timberland has said, “Our retail stores are the face of our brand, our first opportunity to demonstrate to customers that we… can be trusted to operate responsibly.”

Some stores make environmentalism a big part of their branding. Just look at Whole Foods, REI and Patagonia to name a few. Others who have committed to sustainable retail design practices include Kohl’s, Walgreens, Target, Ikea and Macy’s. And it’s not just ground-up thinking. Many retailers go green when they remodel their stores. Aldi’s plans to upgrade 1,300 stores by 2020 and sees it as an opportunity to reduce its environmental impact. Their CEO, Jason Hart, says customers want a healthier place to shop as well – and they vote with their dollars. Aldi’s business is up almost 60% since 2013.

C-Store Sustainability

Sustainability is at the core of Kum & Go’s culture. They’ve been recognized as an early leader in green store design, and won multiple awards for their efforts. Since 2011, all new Kum & Go stores have been designed, constructed and submitted for LEED certification. (LEED stands for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, and it recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices.) Kum & Go now operates 102 LEED-certified stores, more than any other c-store chain in the world.

Kum & Go’s best practices include LED lighting in the reach-in cooler doors as well as in the parking lots, recycling available to customers at the pump and in store, low-flow water fixtures and more efficient HVAC systems. Their glass windows feature a UV layer that darkens in direct sunlight to absorb the heat and make the store more comfortable.

In its corporate social responsibility report, 7-Eleven states that LED lighting has become a store design standard. It estimates that it has already reduced its annual electricity use in store by 21% by adding high-efficiency HVAC units and LED lighting.

What Does A Sustainable Remodel Entail?

When it comes to retail environments, sustainability can incorporate a variety of factors. Store fixtures can be considered sustainability for a number or reasons:

  • Made with reusable or recycled content. For some great green marketing products, check out our greener by design vlog here.
  • Low VOC paint, coatings, sealants or adhesive used. These non-toxic materials can help improve the indoor air quality, which can have a great effect on your customers’ and coworkers’ health and happiness.
  • LED lighting – in your store, parking lot, signs and more.

A sustainable store remodel can also be about making your store more energy efficient. It might be about finding ways to do a décor refresh with permanent POP options that reduce your reliance on temporary POP. And, most importantly, it’s about reducing the enormous waste normally associated with remodeling and building material that ends up in landfills. We’ll explore all three ideas in part two of our blog.

Secrets of Sustainable Store Remodels – Part 2