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Fred Meyer, a division of Kroger Co., remodeled its stores to make them more energy sustainable. For every dollar it spends on the remodeling, it predicts it will save $9 in the long run. Utility costs are predicted to drop by 1 to 2 percent. And the effort has earned the company the prestigious Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

This certification offers a third-party verification that a building project meets high green building and performance standards. For example, Fred Meyer stores feature heat recovery systems that take hot air from the refrigeration system to heat water for the building and thus avoid CFC-based refrigerant. Skylights let in plenty of daylight, and energy-efficient strip fluorescents come on only if needed.

The remodel also meets aesthetic standards, trying to signal the “greenness” of the store. Floors are polished concrete instead of vinyl tile; large windows expose the exterior frame to display the high-tech construction. The outside of the building is orange and red, which gives the building symbolic energy and excites customers as they enter to the store to shop.

But the best part is that Fred Meyer did not start the remodel with the goal of gaining a LEED certification—it just wanted a friendly shopping environment to showcase its great offerings. To save on costs, sustainable construction just made sense. But when the project was 70 percent complete, the company realized that a few additions to the construction would give it the added bonus of  LEED certification.

Discussion Questions:

1. Whom does LEED certification benefit?

Marianne Wilson, “Fred Meyer Goes Green—for LEED Silver,” Chain Store Age,November 2010.