YORK—The 15-year-old Starbucks store at the corner of Crosby and Spring St. was the first in Manhattan to receive Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification on Tuesday. “This is one of the most complex ones it is used all day long and late into the evening” explained Tim Pfeiffer, head of Global Design referring to one of the largest Starbucks stores in Manhattan.
LEED is a voluntary certification program run by the U.S. Green Building Council, which verifies that a building was improved or designed using water efficiency, energy saving technology like LED lights, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources while ensuring the sensitivity of their impact on the environment.
Criticism surrounding LEED buildings is that they are not persisting with their initial projects five years down the road, and fail to meet initial expectations. “We didn’t set out to be LEED certifiable stores,” said Jim Hanna, the director of Environmental Impact and Global Responsibility. “ We set out to be sustainable stores, and LEED is just a third-party way of acknowledging that we have done that,” he explains.
“One of the ways to reduce your cost in LEED is to internalize your expertise” said Hanna. The idea is that a store can internalize all the LEED processes individually and minimize all the consulting processes which benefits a company such as Starbucks that has many buildings. With this kind of system Starbucks went from eight stores certified by LEED to now over 70 certified stores.
Some unique features of the Starbucks at 72 Spring St. include wooden wall panels made from reclaimed wood brought in from Pennsylvania, and community message boards made of old coffee machine stands.
Over the next six months Starbucks plans to build or improve 10 stores in six different bioregions, which are areas where climate conditions have remained consistent over a period of 30 years, around the world. “All of our new stores will be LEED certified at the minimum,” said Hanna.
One of Starbucks’ initiatives that has persisted since 1985 is a 10 cent discount on all drinks when customers provide their own mug instead of buying drinks in paper cups. Even though, the paper cups are all made of 10 percent post-consumer recycled fiber while the paper sleeves are made from 60 percent post-consumer fiber, so Starbucks ensures it does its part to benefit the environment.