Portland Fred Meyer LEEDs the Way

A southeast Portland, Oregon retail store is undergoing renovations intended to help it achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certification.  If it reaches its goal, it will be the first retail store in Oregon and the first of Cincinnati-based Kroger Co.’s stores to do so.

“In the Northwest, we are immersed in the culture of sustainability, and we’ve been working on establishing sustainable practices for a long time when it comes to issues like energy efficiency, recycling and storm water management,” said Randall Douthit, group vice president for facility engineering for Fred Meyer. “Working toward LEED certification is really a national evolutionary step in our progress.”

Some of the features of the newly-renovated store will include:

  • Increased insulation on exterior walls to reduce energy costs.
  • Water-saving fixtures in bathrooms and kitchens.
  • More efficient ventilation and refrigeration systems.
  • Skylights in the ceiling for increased daylighting.
  • Concrete floors that do not require chemicals to be kept clean.
  • The store aims to recycle 70 percent of its waste, focusing on paper, glass, plastic, cardboard, and metal.

The renovation was designed by Portland architecture firm Mulvanny G2, and will be complete in Spring of 2009.  The project will cost more than the average renovation for Fred Meyer ($15 million as opposed to the more usual $12 million).  But, according to Justin Doak, who manages the LEED for Retail program, the extra investment is worth it.  “It’s a natural fit for supermarkets.  Their energy bills are so high because of refrigeration that they are constantly looking for ways to become more efficient. So, it’s a little more money upfront in construction costs but tremendous savings in the long run. And it’s the right thing for the environment.”

Kroger is looking at this project as a pilot so they can assess the returns on their investment.  “Everyone’s been very supportive,” Douthit said. “But at the same time we want to see how it goes, how the costs add up before we decide if we’re going to take this approach to other stores.”  Other stores such as Walmart and Safeway and working with the US Green Building Council on a pilot program for chain stores.


Image credit: Stewart at Flickr under a Creative Commons License

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