Real Estate

Starbucks aims at 100 percent LEED new-builtstores

June 6, 2012 | 2 min read

Starbucks joined the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in 2001, and partnered with them to develop the LEED for Retail program, an effort to adapt LEED to new construction and commercial interior strategies for retail businesses. The first LEED-certified Starbucks store was opened in 2005 and in 2009 Starbucks was among the first retailers to join USGBC’s LEED Volume Certification pilot program along with various other businesses, ranging from PNC, Subway restaurants, Ahold USA, InterContinental Hotels Group to several U.S. universities. and we changed many internal processes and systems in order to build sustainably on a company-wide level

Bulk LEED certification

This program streamlines the pursuit of LEED certification for multiple properties — be it stores, restaurants, offices or hotel chains — at once. The USGBC facilitates participants to change their internal processes and systems in order to start building sustainably and helps them establish a prototype that meets LEED standards. Subsequently, many following buildings can be developed or retrofitted according to that prototype, allowing for a bulk certification process instead of evaluating each new building separately. In the first phase, Starbucks executed ten successful store design and construction projects in six different bio-regions — all audited and approved by the USGBC. Starbucks states: “We are learning how to manage the complexities of the program throughout the entire course of building and certification. We will continue to work to address specific challenges that that prevent some geographic areas from meeting LEED requirements, and to improve the tracking and certification process.”

Cost reductions

Green building materials and construction methods are used in the new LEED certified Starbucks stores which have recycled and locally sourced elements. For example, during the renovation of the Starbucks coffeehouse in Seattle’s University Village in 2009, decorations were made of recycled leather from shoes and car seats, chalkboards from the local high school were re-used as menu boards and even a fallen tree was used to construct a large table. In the bigger picture, according to Starbucks, their LEED certified stores generate 60 percent less construction waste and require less water and energy to operate. “On average, our LEED certified stores achieve a 30 percent reduction in energy used for lighting and 60 percent reduction in water use against the LEED baseline.”

Innovative re-usage

A particularly innovative green building project that Starbucks hopes will provide lessons and ideas for other prefabrication projects and renovations is the “Reclamation Drive-Thru” in Tukwila, Washington, devised by Global Store Design manager Anthony Perez. The entire 450 square foot store is made up of several old shipping containers. Anthony Perez outlines the design and building process on his blog: “Shipping containers source our coffees and teas from around the world. But many end up in scrap yards once they reach their average 20 year lifespan. Reclamation Drive-Thru was inspired by a desire to help keep items used throughout our supply chain, like old shipping containers, out of the waste stream... One small 20-foot container holds garbage, recycling and storage, but other than that, the whole store is contained within the shells of four containers that have been reclaimed, refurnished, renewed and revived.”


This article may be reproduced according to our terms of use with attribution (and link, if online) to To be cited as: “Starbucks aims at 100 percent LEED new-builtstores worldwide”, Ingrid Ramaan,, June 6, 2012.

Read more

Anthony Perez on the Reclamation Drive-Thru
Starbucks on Building Greener Stores


Ingrid Ramaan
Administrative Editor FSinsight

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