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First Green Office Depot Opens in Austin This Summer
DELRAY BEACH, Florida, May 21, 2008 (ENS) - The office products and services company Office Depot today said it has achieved a first - volume pre-certification for a store prototype design under the pilot Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, LEED, program - a nationally accepted certification system for green construction.

Now precertified is the retailer's master set of drawings that will be used in the construction of future Office Depot stores.

The first Office Depot built to this prototype is located in Austin, Texas and is scheduled to open late in June.

The precertification was awarded by the United States Green Building Council, USGBC, which originated the LEED rating system for green building.

"Achieving LEED pre-certification for our prototype represents a milestone moment in Office Depot's environmental leadership journey," said Yalmaz Siddiqui, director of environmental strategy for Office Depot.

"What this means is that not just one store, but our core store prototype incorporates leading edge green design principles," he said.

LEED-Certified buildings reduce energy usage, create less waste and emit fewer harsh chemicals.

A USGBC member since 2007, Office Depot was part of the first group to become involved in the pilot of the LEED Portfolio Program.

Part of the Portfolio initiative involves piloting a volume certification path to enable companies to integrate LEED attributes into a prototype design and apply it across multiple buildings.

"The Portfolio Program pilot is breaking new ground for LEED and adding to our ability to scale green building's immediate and measurable results at a much faster level, said Doug Gatlin, the Green Building Council's market development vice president.

"It's a tremendous step forward in our fight to slow climate change and reduce energy dependence," Gatlin said.

Office Depot's LEED pre-certified prototype features solar tracking skylights to maximize natural light, solar panels and energy efficient T5 lighting with light sensors in the offices.

The prototype has a reflective white roof, a non-asphalt, concrete parking lot, a polished concrete floor, and carpets with recycled content.

High efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning units are part of the precertified design as well as an enhanced energy management system.

The finished building runs a recycling program for collection of corrugated cardboard, paper, plastics, and printer cartridges.

"Office Depot has implemented a number of initiatives over the past couple of years to improve the energy efficiency of our stores and reduce our environmental footprint," said Ed Costa, vice president of construction for Office Depot.

"Achieving volume pre-certification through LEED affirms our leadership position in the retail industry as well as in general building construction," said Costa. "The entire organization is proud of this accomplishment."

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2008. All rights reserved.

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