IKEA, the world’s leading home furnishings retailer, today officially plugged-in solar energy systems installed at its two Philadelphia-area stores (in Conshohocken and South Philadelphia) as well as atop its U.S. Service Office also in Conshohocken, bringing the total number of completed U.S. solar energy projects for IKEA to 29. Additionally, installations are under way at 10 more locations, making the eventual U.S. solar presence of IKEA nearly 89% with a total generation of 38 MW.
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). Globally, IKEA has allocated €590 million to invest in renewable energy, focusing on solar and wind during the coming three years. This investment reinforces the long-term commitment of IKEA to sustainability and confidence in photovoltaic (PV) technology. More than 250,000 solar panels have been installed on IKEA stores and buildings across the world. The company also owns and/or operates approximately 110 wind turbines in Europe.
The three Philadelphia-area solar projects total 286,300 square feet and a generating capacity of 2,208 kW, and were built with 9,198 panels. These programs will produce approximately 2,654,000 kWh of clean electricity annually, the equivalent of reducing 1,830 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2), eliminating the emissions of 359 cars or powering 228 homes yearly (calculating clean energy equivalents at www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-resources/calculator.html). Individually, the projects’ characteristics are below:
Conshohocken, PA (store) – opened in 2003; store size: 325,000 SF on 23 acres
SOLAR PROGRAM: 152,800 SF at 1,142.4 kW; 4,760 panels generating 1,366,310 kWh/year
Equivalent to reducing 942 tons of CO2, 185 cars’ emissions or powering 117 homes
Conshohocken, PA (U.S. Office) – opened in 2006; size: 75,000 SF on 7 acres
SOLAR PROGRAM: 7,200 SF at 57.1 kW; 238 panels generating 66,980 kWh/year
Equivalent to reducing 46 tons of CO2, 9 cars’ emissions or powering 6 homes
Philadelphia, PA (store) – opened in 2004; store size: 311,000 SF on 20 acres
SOLAR PROGRAM: 126,300 SF at 1,008 kW; 4,200 panels generating 1,220,700 kWh/year
Equivalent to reducing 842 tons of CO2, 165 cars’ emissions or powering 105 homes
For the development, design and installation of the three locations’ customized solar power systems, IKEA contracted with Gehrlicher Solar America Corp., part of Gehrlicher AG, one of the world’s ten largest independent PV project developers and system integrators.
“This solar installation is another example of how we build on our ongoing sustainability commitment,” said Conshohocken store manager Kevin Bohon. Added Lisa Christensen, store manager in South Philadelphia, “A solar energy system atop the store reduces our carbon footprint and improves what we do today for a better tomorrow.”
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; 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.
Located on 23 acres along I-476 at Ridge Pike, the 325,000 square-foot IKEA Conshohocken opened in January 2003. The 311,000-square-foot store in South Philadelphia opened in August 2004 on 20 acres near I-95 along Columbus Boulevard. In addition to 10,000 exclusively designed items, both stores present approximately 50 different room-settings, three model home interiors, a supervised children’s play area, and a 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 stores.
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.