In Portland, Office Depot Gets Cozy With Green

The focus on green at Office Depot isn’t exactly new, but its smaller format, green-focused retail store in downtown Portland, Ore., is. The store, which opened on July 31, is the 11th such location in the nation and the first in the Pacific Northwest to scale back the old big-box format for something a little more intimate — and, in the process, implement some energy efficient green building strategies.

At the opening of the store, representatives from the Electronics Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) program — which recently made headlines with regards to Apple’s waffling on its participation  — were on hand to celebrate the global launch of its new EcoSense labeling system. The new store features many products that bear the new label, including computers and displays that qualify for EPEAT’s rigorous environmental rating.

Aside from the major retailer’s stated commitment to “Buy Green, Be Green, and Sell Green,” Office Depot is opening smaller stores because that’s what its customers want. Office Depot’s Yalmaz Siddiqui, Senior Director, Environmental Strategy at Office Depot, told us, “Office Depot has seen that the big box format doesn’t seem to resonate with customers like it used to across all retailers. Today’s small business customers value their time and want convenience. They want to quickly navigate the store, find what they need, and get back to their business.”

The new store format typically encompasses between 15,000 and 5,000 square footage of selling space, but the Portland store, at 7,000 square feet, weighs in at the cozy end of spectrum — down from around  29,000 square feet from its former footprint. This smaller format alone will slash the location’s utility bills, but a number of other green strategies have been implemented at the store as well.  At the opening this last week, Siddqui gave us a tour of some of the building’s most notable green features, detailed in this photo gallery.

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.