IKEA Powers-up Solar Panels at Houston Store
July 16, 2012 | 9:08 pm CDT

HOUSTON - IKEA, the world’s leading home furnishings retailer, today officially plugged-in the solar energy system installed at its store in Houston, Texas – which, when combined with IKEA projects atop stores in Frisco and Round Rock, will make IKEA the state’s largest solar owner. IKEA Houston’s 116,400-square-foot PV array consists of a 813-kW system, built with 3,388 panels. The program will produce approximately 1,152,464 kWh of clean electricity annually, the equivalent of reducing 795 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), eliminating the emissions of 156 cars or powering 99 homes yearly (calculating clean energy equivalents at www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-resources/calculator.html).

This investment by IKEA reinforces the company’s long-term commitment to sustainability and confidence in photovoltaic (PV) technology. IKEA owns and operates each of its solar PV energy systems atop its buildings – as opposed to a solar lease or PPA (power purchase agreement). The Houston installation represents the 19th completed solar energy project for IKEA in the United States, with 20 more installations underway, making the eventual U.S. solar presence of IKEA nearly 89% with a total generation of 38 MW.

For the development, design and installation of the Houston store’s customized solar power system, IKEA contracted with REC Solar, one of the largest U.S. solar electric installers with more than 8,000 systems built nationwide.

“At IKEA Houston, we constantly look for ways to practice and encourage eco-conscious behavior within the store and throughout the community,” said Kim Castillo, marketing responsible for IKEA Houston. “The new solar panels are an obvious step in the right direction and we are thrilled about the installation. We appreciate the continued support of the City of Houston, CenterPoint Energy, and REC Solar, our partners in this project”

IKEA Houston will hold a Solar Panel Celebration event on Thursday, July 12 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. As part of the festivities, Sunny 99.1 will be on site handing out free blue bags to the first 156 shoppers to stop by and say hello in honor of the 156 car emissions being offset by the new panels. At 11:15 a.m., IKEA will hold an official dedication ceremony with remarks from Laura Spanjian, Sustainability Director for the City of Houston, followed by free, fun and educational workshops with Orange Show Center for Visionary Art.

Sited on 15.6 acres along I-10’s Katy Freeway at Antoine Drive, the original IKEA Houston opened in July 1992, with a new 300,000-square-foot store opening August 2004. In addition to 10,000 exclusively designed items, this IKEA store presents 54 different room-settings, three model home interiors, a supervised children’s play area and a 350-seat restaurant serving Swedish specialties such as meatballs with lingonberries and salmon plates, as well as American dishes. Other family-friendly features include a ‘Children’s IKEA’ area in the Showroom, baby care rooms, preferred parking and play areas throughout the store.

IKEA, drawing from its Swedish heritage and respect of nature, believes it can be a good business while doing good business and aims for its operations to minimize impacts on the environment. Globally, IKEA evaluates all locations regularly for energy conservation opportunities, integrates innovative materials into product design, works with Global Forest Watch to maintain sustainable resources, and flat-packs goods for efficient distribution. Specific U.S. sustainable efforts include: recycling waste material (paper, wood, plastic, etc.); incorporating environmental measures into the construction of buildings in terms of energy-efficient HVAC and lighting systems, recycled construction materials, skylights in warehouse areas, and water conserving restrooms; and operationally, eliminating plastic bags from the check-out process, phasing out the sale of incandescent light bulbs and facilitating recycling of customers’ compact fluorescent bulbs. IKEA also has installed electric vehicle charging stations at nine stores in the Western U.S.

IKEA strives to be ‘The Life Improvement Store,’ and since its 1943 founding in Sweden, has offered home furnishings of good design and function, at low prices so the majority of people can afford them. There are currently more than 330 IKEA stores in 40 countries, including 38 in the U.S. IKEA incorporates sustainable efforts into day-to-day business and supports initiatives that benefit children and the environment. For more information, go to IKEA-USA.com.

Source: IKEA Houston


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