Big Green Boxes: Ikea Goes Efficient In Canada

Not a week goes by, it seems, without our reporting on another green development at Ikea, that Scandinavian giant of assemble-it-yourself decor. Not only has the global retailer brought renewable energy to 85 percent of its stores as of January, it boasts a whopping 31.6 megawatts (MW) of installed solar capacity in the U.S., as well its own 12.3-MW Scottish wind farm.

Now Ikea Canada is getting into the green game during “a period of heavy expansion,” opening three stores in one year that will be 40 percent more efficient than the last Ikea store in Canada, built way back in 2004. The Ikea in Richmond, British Columbia, set to open April 25, will make use of a whole laundry list of green features and systems, including a geothermal installation, rainwater harvesting, a solar-equipped navigation tower and an “edible green garden” (for the benefit of the store’s employees) located on the store’s rooftop.  The store will also plant approximately one tree for every six parking spaces.


mage via IKEA

In addition to these systems, the store will pay commendable attention to the green details that do more than pay lip-service to energy and water conservation, as well as occupant health. As far as energy conservation goes, those details include a highly reflective rooftop that will reduce solar gain in the summer, LED/CFL/T5 lighting, extensive use of skylights, a building automation system, occupancy sensors and destratification fans in the warehouse that will mix air and increase heating efficiencies.

On the water front, green details include permeable pavement that will absorb rainwater and improve drainage around the store, landscaping that makes use of drought-resistant native plants, low-flow plumbing equipment, and water faucet sensors in bathrooms; in terms of its focus on human health, the building features low-VOC paints and adhesives, and will make use of an eco-friendly cleaning regimen (right down to the recycled tissue paper and paper towels).

Oh, and lest you think this store neglected a single element of the big green picture, it’s located on the local bus line and features parking spots just for hybrid-drivers, as well as 100 bicycle racks for customers and coworkers (just in case local residents feel like biking out to Big-Box Land). More information on the store is available online.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.


  • Reply March 22, 2012

    Anatoli N

    Richmond is in BC, Ontario has Richmond HIll 🙂

    • Reply March 22, 2012

      Pete Danko

      Anatoli, thank you for pointing out our error. We have now corrected the story.

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