Kohl’s released its first CSR report this week, which highlights its sustainability accomplishments in 2010. One of Kohl’s biggest achievements is in its use of renewable energy. The department store chain is the “largest single retail host of solar electricity in North America,” according to the report. In 2007, Kohl’s entered a 20 year power purchase agreement with SunEdison. By the end of last year, 100 of the company’s stores in California, Oregon, Colorado, Wisconsin, Connecticut, New Jersey and Maryland had solar power systems.
In California alone, Kohl’s stores with solar power systems generate 25 megawatts (MW), which is equivalent to the power used by 3,087 California homes. Each solar power system provides 40 percent of a store’s power.
In 2006, Kohl’s joined the EPA Green Power Partnership. In 2009, the company purchased more than 1,367,376,000-kilowatt hours of renewable energy credits (RECs) for use in 2010. Purchasing RECs offsets the energy used by Kohl’s stores that do not have solar power systems.
As a member of the EPA Energy Star Program, Kohl’s measures the energy performance of its stores, scoring them on a 1 to 100 scale. Stores with a score of 75 or more are eligible for the Energy Star label. Commercial buildings with the Energy Star label use about 35 percent less energy and emit one-third less carbon. By the end of 2010, 500 Kohl’s stores were Energy Star labeled and the company was named the 2010 Energy Star Partner of the Year for Energy Management by the EPA and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
Over 140 Kohl’s stores are LEED certified, and 72 stores and one office building achieved LEED certification last year. An estimated 20 percent of the building materials used by Kohl’s stores are locally manufactured and harvested from within 500 miles of new store sites. Efficient plumbing fixtures in new stores reduced water use 20 to 30 percent.
Other achievements include:
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 Mashable.com.