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Association of Retail Environments


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Rule the (Clean) Air: Greening Verizon's stores without changing the brand expression

Whe Verizon Wireless set out several years ago to green its portfolio, the retailer didn't want the brand identity to be compromised for sustainability. So an "Evolution" prototype was requested that would typically achieve LEED Silver without changing the look and feel of the brand or the customer's in-store experience-without significantly increasing the cost of a store project. Ultimately, the store exceeded the certification goal, earning LEED Gold.

Since then, 75 additional Verizon Wireless locations have attained LEED certification, with more underway as part of the LEED Volume Program for Commercial Interiors. The target is LEED Silver, but many of the stores achieve Gold. With a next-generation store prototype now in development and testing, the pace is expected to continue.

But that first project, a 3,500-squarefoot store in Casper, Wy., proved architect Kenneth A. Gruskin's contention that greening a store need not change the expression of the company's brand.

"The most remarkable thing about the project is that it's unremarkable," says Gruskin, principal of Gruskin Group. "The goal was for green to not get in the way of the primary function of the store-customers making connections. Verizon still wanted to look like a technology company, and they do."

In fact, the company's standard store prototype did not need to be altered significantly to meet the green building goals, Gruskin says. Many of the existing material specifications were close to what was needed, only requiring a tweak here and there to minimize VOCs.

Roughly half of the materials used in the Casper, Wy., location were manufactured regionally. Gruskin says that finding local materials isn't as onerous as is often believed in retail. "For the Casper store, much of the store is cabinetry and the site was close to the millwork manufacturer," he explains.

Leggett & Platt Store Fixtures Group manufactured and installed all of the fixturing, and many of the materials Leggett & Platt used were also sourced within 500 miles. This helped the project earn two LEED points for regional materials, credits intended to support the regional economy and reduce the impact from transportation. (Illustrating Verizon's commitment to sustainable practices, the team continues to use regional materials for other green store builds even though it usually opts not to pursue the LEED point due to paperwork requirements.)...

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