Ikea’s new store in Renton is a win for the environment and economy
Ikea opened its new 399,000-square-foot store in Renton on Feb. 22, complete with its modern architectural design, chic displays, and an expanded cafeteria. The new store expects to experience growth in sales, raking in more dollars for itself and the city, but money isn’t the only green Ikea is going for. In addition to the furniture store’s fresh look and features, the redesigned facility also represents the company’s commitment to the environment, housing the largest solar rooftop array in the state.
“We are very excited about the new solar array,” said Annie Boeckman, marketing manager for Ikea in Renton. “The Pacific Northwest is known for being rainy and cloudy and a lot of people don’t think that solar is a good way to go for renewable energy, but it actually works quite well out here — and the technology just continues to improve.”
According to Ikea, the 244,000- square-foot solar array is expected to produce approximately 1,261,000 kWh of electricity annually, the equivalent of 886 tons of carbon dioxide, or the emissions of 187 cars. While the store still will need to pull energy from the grid, Boeckman said energy savings from the solar array is just one example of the company’s commitment to the environment and sustainability.
“We see ourselves as a leader when it comes to sustainability and leading not just homes but companies in the right way,” said Boeckman. Ikea, which is projected to open five to six new stores in the U.S. annually over the next several years, owns wind farms in the U.S., and two of its U.S. locations operate using geothermal energy. “Sustainability is always at the forefront,” said Boeckman.
In addition to the Renton store’s solar array, the building also has all-LED lighting, both in the store and in the parking lot, as well as an energy-efficient heating and cooling system. “With a building of this size, it takes quite a bit to heat and cool, so we’re obviously looking forward to the dollar amount savings with energy efficiency, but especially the reduced carbon footprint we’re going to have,” said Boeckman.
“We’re very pleased that Ikea took the initiative to do this,” said Renton Mayor Denis Law. “From an energy-saving perspective, it’s a very good deal.”
Ikea’s new building, an upgrade from the retrofitted Boeing facility it called home for the past 23 years, fits in well with Renton’s vision for a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future, Law said.
In 2011, the city adopted a plan called Creating a Clean Economy in Renton, which provides a comprehensive strategy for the city in terms of what it can do to improve its performance, from reducing gas emissions to minimizing operating costs through the use of energy-saving measures.
However, for the City of Renton, being home to the only Ikea store in the state isn’t just a win for the environment, it’s a big win for the economy, too. Since it opened in the mid-1990s, Ikea in Renton has been a big source of sales tax revenue for the city.
Shoppers now can visit the new Ikea where, in addition to a look at the solar array, they can enjoy the store’s expanded restaurant, 50,000 more square feet of layout ideas, and much more. Construction is expected to continue through the fall as Ikea demolishes its old building to make way for additional parking. The store will celebrate its grand opening later this fall after construction is complete.