[Editor's Note: The three winner of CSP's Environmental Stewardship Awards were honored during CSP's Outlook Leadership Conference this month. In this three-part series, CSP Daily News delves into how and why each winning chain or store adopted a "green" strategy.] BALTIMORE-- Executives at Royal Farms convenience stores like to say they were eco-friendly before it was cool.
Simple considerations had already put many of the ideas that today are considered green into play. And while the reasons to consider environmentally friendly design begin with "because it's the right thing to do," that's not where they end. Instead, the company considered: Could skylights reduce electricity bills? What can we do to reduce water waste? And, LED lighting is just more attractive in the cooler.
As a result, company president John Kemp said when the chain decided to pursue Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, it found it really only needed a few small tweaks to get its newest stores up to snuff.
"We were already doing a lot of energy-saving things, a lot of water-saving things. We were doing these things because there was a return on investment there," he told CSP Daily News. "So when we looked at LEED, we realized that we qualified for most of the points already."
Having partnered with green-building consultants from Lorax Partnerships on store development, the sites offer a veritable checklist of eco-friendly design elements, from the white roof and LED lighting, to trash and grease recycling, dry-flush urinals and variable-flush toilets that reduce the amount of water that goes into a flush.
The chain's LEED-certified stores provide a list of the numerous green elements within, right inside the doors, where the LEED plaque is proudly displayed to let consumers know Royal Farms cares.
With 10 of its 140 stores in the Baltimore area LEED-certified today, and a handful of others going through the process, Kemp said most new sites will also be built to green standards.
"We've reduced water and sewer costs by 41%," Kemp said. "Just based on the ROI and the savings, it pays for itself. Even if we didn't have the [LEED and marketing] benefits, we would be doing this just for business sense."