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Apple Stores are ‘greenish’ at best

9 January 2011 2,754 views One Comment

When it comes to energy efficiency, recyclable materials, minimalist packaging and toxin reduction, Apple products stand head and shoulders above the crowd — they’ve really done a good job. Whereas the company’s retail stores have been hailed as exemplary buying environments, they don’t measure up quite so well against recently toughened building standards.

When Apple set about designing and building brick and mortar Apple Stores back in May 2001, they were cutting edge in just about every regard. Now, according to ifoAppleStore, newly revised standards from the US Green Building Council (USGBC) mean they only meet the most basic green building measure.

“Among the many superlatives used to describe the architecture and design of Apple’s retail stores, none of them describe the stores as the “greenest” stores in America. In fact, the siting of stores, their use of electricity and unusual design rates the stores as barely certified according to [the] standards…

120x240 $3.99 - King KongUSGBC promulgated new standards in November, laying out specific basic, silver, gold and platinum Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) benchmarks covering design, energy usage, emissions, land use, etc. That said, the group hadn’t changed their standards since 1993 and specific retail metrics didn’t exist until the rewrite, so an update was more than overdue.

New goals, same characters

Although Apple easily met the old LEED standard, the new retail specific measures leave the mothership in a familiar and likely uncomfortable position. That is Greenspace has alternately praised and castigated Apple in ping-pong fashion for its adherence, or lack thereof, to the environmental group’s ever shifting subjective performance metrics.

Truly, the new retail-specific LEED standards point out opportunities for Apple to improve its retail stores. However, because USGBC is an industry group — i.e. people that have to live and work in harmony with others — I don’t expect them to grandstand at Apple’s expense.

It will be interesting to see how the mothership adapts…

What’s your take?

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