A Look at the State of Green Design

26, Jul. 2012

The latest issue of Retail Environments looks at ‘The State of Green’ and illustrates how retailers are increasingly going green through both bold and subtle measures. The study, analyzing industry trends, uncovers some surprising results. For instance, while 86% of retailers now employ some level of sustainable design in their store projects, 59% don’t actively promote this to consumers.

In today’s world, sustainable approaches in project developments are now somewhat expected from designers. This generally, however, has less to do with the company’s positioning and more with the designer’s own innovation, initiative and abilities within budgetary and time constraints.

The report also reveals that green building strategies tend to be informed, on some level, by the values of a brands’ target demographics. This empowers customers to take action and make consumer choices that motivate green and sustainable corporate initiatives.

The report breaks down a few key areas in the continued challenges for retailers in practicing sustainable design:

In order to keep up with the latest industry trends and to stay ahead of the competition, stores constantly update their looks. Due to the frequency of remodeling, the time needed for investment in sustainable design strategies to pay off is often not met.

The quick speed of the construction process can often result in contaminants leaking into the space, making the air-quality test for LEED Certification difficult. Re-testing is often out of the question as well due to the store opening deadlines.

Many fixtures contribute to multiple LEED categories, but only as part of the overall sum of materials in the project. This makes it extremely difficult to elicit the credit data needed to determine and document their credit compliance.

Based on Retail Environment’s findings, its clear that we are looking towards a greener future in retail design. Despite continued challenges, the market demand will continue to drive the greening of spaces illustrating the power of social responsibility. As well, growing research and technological innovations have removed the mutual exclusivity between profitability and sustainability, as companies are now finding the exact opposite. Today, revenue and job growth can easily be attained while environmental and social impacts of construction and design are maintained.

Click the link for the full July/August issue of Retail Environments.

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