Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI), the national outdoor gear and clothing retail cooperative, today announced multiple stewardship investments the co-op is integrating in 2009 to further reduce its impacts on the environment. These strategic efforts focus on solar energy, renewable power sources and energy reduction measures, and help the company progress towards its goal of becoming climate-neutral by 2020.
“Our mission is to make REI stores and buildings incredibly energy efficient and take advantage of sustainable sources of power wherever possible,” said Kevin Hagen, REI’s director of Corporate Social Responsibility. “This includes the construction of efficient new stores and retrofitting existing locations to ensure long-term environmental and financial benefits for the co-op and our communities.”
The installation of a rooftop solar electric system on REI’s eastern region distribution center in Bedford, Pa. was completed last month through a power purchase arrangement with an affiliate of Tier 1 Generation, LLC. The new system will generate an estimated 60,500 kilowatt hours of electricity annually and provide a long-term, fixed-price source of electricity for the facility. The 525,000 square-foot building was built to optimize energy use, including the use of more than 300 skylights and motion sensor light fixtures and conveyor belts. REI Bedford received the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification for New Construction in 2008.
The co-op has previous experience with solar generation and retrofitted 11 stores to operate from on-site solar electric systems in 2008, powering up to 35 percent of their electricity needs. In addition, nine REI stores currently house solar hot water systems, which are used to heat 50 to 70 percent of the stores’ water for sinks and employee showers with energy generated from the sun. Two new stores, opening in the fall of 2009, will also utilize similar systems.
Renewable Energy Sources
Approximately a quarter of REI locations are 100 percent supplied from the purchase of renewable energy – such as wind or biomass – where it provides environmental and business benefits to the co-op. This year, six additional stores began using green power sources through NextEra Energy Resources, the largest producer of wind and solar energy in North America. As a result, REI has 23 locations nationwide utilizing renewable energy sources, equaling 23 percent of its annual retail energy use. The additional REI stores are located in Framingham, Mass., Lincoln Park, Ill., Northbrook, Ill., Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., Schaumberg, Ill. and West Hartford, Conn. In addition, NextEra’s EarthEra Renewable Energy Trust directs 100 percent of the proceeds from this partnership to the construction of new wind and solar renewable projects.
Working towards its 2020 climate-neutral goal, REI is investing in projects to reduce its overall energy consumption, while also adding new store locations each year. To reduce its electricity use, the co-op is retrofitting 50 percent of its stores this year with ceramic metal halide lamps that are three times more energy efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs. The new lamps will not only reduce the energy needed to light REI stores, but will also last longer and improve lighting. Through these retrofits, the company projects that it will save 1.6 megawatt hours and cut energy costs by $165,000 per year. REI plans to retrofit the remainder of its stores in 2010.
REI has also partnered with Novar, a global leader in multi-site energy management, to provide services and technology to better manage energy consumed in lighting, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems in 70 of REI’s stores with plans to retrofit 14 additional stores in 2009. As a result of these services, Novar saves REI 1.5 megawatt hours and more than $200,000 in energy costs annually.
To further reduce its energy use, the co-op participates in demand response programs in 20 of its stores through CPower, a leading energy management firm. By working with CPower to better match a building’s energy use to local grid conditions, REI stores can cut costs and help utility companies manage resources, ultimately avoiding the need to build new power plants and infrastructure.
Additional information on REI’s energy and overall environmental commitments is available at www.rei.com/stewardship. The 2008 report will be available online later this year.
REI is a national outdoor retail co-op dedicated to inspiring, educating and outfitting its members and the community for a lifetime of outdoor adventure and stewardship. Founded in 1938 by a group of Pacific Northwest mountaineers seeking quality equipment, REI is committed to promoting environmental stewardship and increasing access to outdoor recreation through volunteerism, gear donations and financial contributions.