IKEA today announced plans to install solar energy panels on eight of its California locations. Pending governmental permits, installation can begin in late Fall, with completion expected in early 2011. Collectively, the eight buildings comprise nearly 90% of the IKEA presence in California, and will total 4.5 megawatts (MW) of solar generating capacity, nearly 20,000 panels, and an annual output of 6.65 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity.
This effort represents the equivalent to reducing 5,268 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) in California – equaling the emissions of 914 cars or providing 580 homes electricity yearly (calculating clean energy equivalents at www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-resources/calculator.html).
IKEA will be installing panels at its three stores in Northern California (East Palo Alto, Emeryville and West Sacramento), four stores in southern California (Burbank, Costa Mesa, Covina and San Diego) and at its distribution center in Tejon – one of the top ten largest rooftop commercial systems in the U.S.
“We are excited about this investment by IKEA in using renewable energy, reducing our carbon footprint, and improving the lives of the many people,” said Mike Ward, IKEA U.S president. “This approach is consistent with our commitment to sustainable building practices and we are thrilled that our evaluation determined these projects to be feasible for IKEA. We always are open to ideas for incorporating key environmental technologies and look forward to considering other opportunities as they arise.”
Other sustainable efforts include: integrating innovative materials into the production process; working with Global Forest Watch to maintain sustainable resources; flat-packing goods for an efficient distribution system; recycling approximately 75 percent of waste (paper, wood, plastic, etc.); and incorporating environmental measures into the construction of buildings in terms of energy-efficient HVAC and lighting systems, recycled construction materials, low volatile organic compound emitting paint, skylights in their warehouse, and water-conserving restrooms.
In the United States, IKEA has solar energy systems operational in Brooklyn, NY, Pittsburgh, PA and Tempe, AZ; solar water heating systems in Charlotte, NC; Draper, UT; Orlando, FL; and Tampa, FL; and a geothermal system incorporated into the store under construction in Centennial, CO.
There currently are more than 300 IKEA stores in 38 countries, including 37 in the U.S. since its 1943 founding in Sweden.