Big companies go green with geothermal

Posted on: May 19th, 2014
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Big companies go green with geothermal

Big companies go green with geothermal

Businesses are continually looking for ways to cut costs while also boosting their reputations. Because of this, many are embracing clean energy options, which may ultimately save them money as well as minimize their eco footprint. As more consumers become aware of environmental issues, they are becoming discerning about which brands they shop with. Companies that adopt green energy will not only be able to better protect the environment, but they may also be able to better hold onto the loyalty of their customers. Two companies that have realized this and are making significant strides in the corporate realm with geothermal energy are IKEA and Walgreens.

Setting lofty goals
The IKEA store in Centennial, Colo., which opened two years ago, features expansive solar panels on the building’s rooftop. According to Justmeans, the company recently expanded that system, and it’s now double its original size. Even before these updates, the store boasted the largest single-use rooftop solar array in a commercial building in the entire state. The now 4,704 panels on the store’s roof are saving 1,200 tons of carbon every year – the equivalent to what is needed to power 180 homes. That’s not the only impressive green feature of the Centennial store. This building also includes a geothermal heating and cooling system.

The company isn’t stopping there with its sustainability mission. Justmeans reported that IKEA has set aside $1.8 billion to invest in renewal energy research through next year. The ultimate goal? To be 100 percent renewable by the year 2020. At the very least, the company aims to supply the same amount of renewable energy that is used by its plants and stores.

“We are fortunate to have the roof space and corporate commitment to more than double the energy being generated on-site here at the store,” said store manager John Ellis, as quoted by Justmeans. “We are proud to make this investment and to grow our local sustainable footprint.”

A profitable outcome
These efforts appear to be paying off – not just for the environment, but also for IKEA. According to The Wall Street Journal, the Swedish company has been able to slash its prices on certain sofa and furniture cover lines merely by adopting more eco-friendly manufacturing methods.

“Lower prices are better for the consumer and if we can find efficiencies in the supply chain then it’s a win-win,” said Ikea’s U.S. financial chief Rob Olson, as quoted by the news source.

Olson also commented on the cost advantages of geothermal energy, which is used in both the Denver and Kansas City stores. In fact, he revealed that an investment in geothermal heating can pay for itself in just 8 years.

IKEA isn’t the only one reaping the benefits of geothermal. Medill Reports Chicago reported that the Walgreens in Evanston, Ill., which opened last November, is the first completely net zero store. That means that the location has been able to garner all of its energy from renewable resources such as solar panels, geothermal heating and LED lighting. Both Nate Kipnis, an architect and member of Citizens’ Greener Evanston and Catherine Hurley, sustainable programs coordinator for Evanston’s Office of Sustainability, noted that the public response to the store has been extremely positive.

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