REI, Founding Farmers, North Face Win A.R.E. Sustainability Awards

by | Jul 2, 2009

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REI, Founding Farmers and The North Face are the inaugural winners of the Association for Retail Environments’ (A.R.E) Sustainability Awards launched at GlobalShop 2009 to encourage excellence in sustainable retail design. Judges awarded the highest honors to projects that balance comprehensive sustainability programs with good design.

REI’s Round Rock, Texas, store won the Project of the Year for key sustainability measures that encompass the use of recycled or reclaimed resources, energy and water savings and renewable energy.


Key sustainability measures include:

  • Some building, furniture, and fixture materials made from rapidly renewable, recycled, or reclaimed resources.
  • Sustainable carpeting built in modules that can be replaced in small sections if it becomes damaged.
  • Recycled rubber flooring outlasts many types of flooring.
  • All store fixtures are constructed of rapidly renewable and/or recycled materials, such as bamboo veneer fiberboard.
  • Low-VOC paints, sealants, and adhesives used throughout the store raise the quality of indoor air.
  • Plumbing fixtures use more than 40 percent less water than the standard baseline for a typical retail space.
  • Features such as ceramic metal halide lighting, daylight harvesting, and a high-efficiency HVAC system contribute to a 48 percent lower energy consumption than baseline.
  • The air-handling units are 45 percent more efficient than code requires, carbon dioxide monitors help economize ventilation, and the insulation cuts heating and cooling needs by 45 percent.
  • Over 90 percent of the appliances are Energy Star rated.
  • The project has earned Gold certification under the LEED CI for Retail pilot rating system.

Tied for second place were the D.C. restaurant Founding Farmers and the Boise, Idaho, The North Face store.

Reclaimed wood from a textile mill in Georgia and a barn in West Virginia, low-VOC finishes, and 192,000 gallons in annual water savings from efficient plumbing fixtures are a few of the features that helped Founding Farmers restaurant achieve LEED Gold. The project used more than 15 percent of reclaimed building materials and 90 percent of construction waste was recycled.


Key sustainability features include:

  • Among the 45 percent of materials manufactured within 500 miles are tables, chairs, and bar stools made in North Carolina from wood sustainably harvested in Pennsylvania.
  • Organic food from 40,000 American farms is served on countertops made of 50 percent post-consumer recycled paper.
  • An acrylic screen of 40 percent pre-consumer recycled resin separates space, and graphics on a material of sustainably harvested wood pulp and waste cover walls.
  • LEDs, gelled fluorescents, and window shading create soft color while reducing energy usage.

The restoration of previously closed-off windows with high-efficiency glazing contributes daylighting and passive solar heating to the North Face store, which features reused building materials, low-VOC paints, and high-efficiency lighting, HVAC, and air filtering systems.


Key sustainable features include:

  • Recyclable, sustainably-harvested wood walls complement fixtures and backroom storage shelving of CARB-compliant bamboo plywood and powder-coated metal.
  • Particleboard used in the cashwrap and backwrap is manufactured of EPP- and SCS-certified 100 percent pre-consumer recycled wood fiber without added formaldehyde.
  • Flooring consists of low-embodied-energy, recyclable porcelain tile with low-VOC, 15 percent recycled-content grout and 19 percent recycled-content setting material; sustainably harvested hardwood produced without insecticides or laminating adhesives; and recycled-content vinyl installed using low-VOC adhesive.
  • A yarn and renewable fiber carpet with recycled content, featuring EPP and California Gold and Platinum certifications, was installed using a product with a 90-percent lower environmental footprint than traditional glue installation.

In addition, three projects received Outstanding Merit awards including Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, Canadian Tire Smart Store and Timberland. Judges also singled out six specific project elements for commendation. Click here for a list of all Design Award winners for sustainability.

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