JCPenney: A Greener Retailer

The founder of JCPenney, the U.S. retail company with over 1,000 stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, believed in practicing the Golden Rule (Do unto others as you would have them do unto you). The company James Cash Penney founded announced plans this week for solar and wind power projects that will supply electricity to 10 of its stores and a distribution center.
SunPower Corporation will install the solar systems for ten stores in California and New Jersey. Each system will produce over four megawatts of power and save about 146,000 tons of carbon dioxide over 30 years from entering the atmosphere, equal to about 800 cars. It is estimated that the solar projects will save the company 25 percent in savings during the shelf life of the systems (30 years).

Broadstar Wind Systems will install the wind turbines at JCPenney’s Reno, NV distribution center.
“Hosting these solar and wind projects will add to our knowledge of the benefits and potential applications of renewable energy programs at our facilities,” said Myron E. Ullman, III, chairman and CEO. “Together with the energy-saving initiatives we already have in place in our stores and distribution centers, this is another significant step toward achieving our environmental objectives. With enthusiastic support from JCPenney Associates nationwide, we are constantly looking for opportunities to contribute to a cleaner environment and run our business more cost effectively.”
“These projects further our commitment to incorporate sustainability into all aspects of our operations. We will closely monitor the results to determine how we can best leverage these innovative methods to increase our participation in renewable energy projects while also benefiting our business,” said Jim Thomas, vice president and director of corporate social responsibility for JCPenney. “We are proud of what we are accomplishing as an organization to reduce energy consumption and extend JCPenney’s legacy of social responsibility, and our Associates remain focused on seeking new ways to protect the environment.”
The company also announced plans to get 200 of its stores ENERGY STAR certified by 2011. In 2007 JCPenney stores became the first retailer to qualify for ENERGY STAR certification. The company has been a member of the ENERGY STAR program since 1999. Commercial buildings that earn the ENERGY STAR certification use 35 percent less energy and emit one-third less carbon dioxide. In order to earn certification, a building has to be in the top 25 percent classification for energy use.
Last October JCPenney opened a new store in Denver, CO which had recycled-content ceiling tiles, and carpet made from recycled material. Exterior construction and landscaping materials were sourced locally, which reduced the carbon output.
“We conducted a top-to-bottom review of our store construction process and equipment to determine where we could operate more efficiently without diminishing the comfort and convenience of customers and Associates while maintaining reasonable costs,” said Michael Dastugue, JCPenney senior vice president and director of property development. “Our new Denver store is the product of those findings. We will closely review the performance of our new sustainable building features in that location as we look to incorporate them into new stores and store renovation plans in the future.”
During the last five years the company invested over $75 million in the installation of energy management technology, and high efficiency heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems (HVAC), according to its 2007 report. In 2006 the company eliminated about 31,000 tons of GHG emissions through the reduction of energy use.

Gina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by

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