For its efforts IKEA USA was named by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) as one of the top five commercial solar users in the country in 2012. The group estimates that the installations by all 20 companies will produce approximately $47.3 million worth of electricity per year. Other iconic brands also on the list include: Walmart, Walgreens, Staples and General Motors.
“We are thrilled with the progress we have made towards installing solar panels atop 89 percent of our U.S. locations,” said Mike Ward, president, IKEA U.S. in a statement. “We appreciate the Solar Energy Industries Association and the Vote Solar Initiative for acknowledging our commitment to sustainability as represented by our investment in solar photo-voltaic technology.”
Earlier this year IKEA completed its 39th solar panel installation at its Charlotte, NC, store, which will produce approximately 1,330,000 kWh of electricity annually. The 1,015-kW system is 122,000-square feet and consists of 4,228 panels.
However, solar panels are not the extent of the company’s sustainability initiatives. IKEA is also using geothermal technology for heating and cooling at two stores — IKEA Centennial, which opened in Colorado in 2011 and IKEA Merriam, which is scheduled to open in the fall of 2014. Additional conservation and sustainable efforts by IKEA USA include recycling waste material, using energy-efficient HVAC and lighting systems, eliminating plastic bags at check out, phasing out the sale of incandescent light bulbs and by 2016 selling and using LED lighting only.
IKEA’s commitment to environmental initiatives is an integral part of its vision and business values highlighted with the release of a new sustainability strategy last year as part of its plan for long-term growth. Steve Howard, IKEA Group’s chief sustainability officer, also told USA Today in 2012, “Sustainability will decide the winners and losers in the business community.”
Founded in 1943, IKEA Group has more than 340 stores in 41 countries, including 38 in the U.S., and as of 2012, more than 154,000 workers worldwide. IKEA's home furnishings are manufactured by Swedwood, a division of IKEA Industry Group. The U.S. factory is located in Danville, VA.