first "green" store, which opened this past November in Tarpon Springs, expects its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification any day now.
Having complied with the U.S. Green Building Council's
checklist for environmentally friendly buildings, the LEED rating will be a formality, but it will mark a milestone for Tampa-based Sweetbay and for the city of Tarpon Springs.
"They wanted to have some green development in their community," says Sweetbay spokesperson Nicole LeBeau, "and we worked with them to make it happen."
Among several environmentally friendly innovations at the store on Alternate U.S. 19 are low-flow toilets to conserve water; parking spaces designated for low-emission vehicles and car-poolers; and easy proximity to the Pinellas Trail to encourage bike-riding shoppers.
The store also will use reclaimed water and has installed an air conditioning unit designed to be 30 percent more efficient than standard units.
"For starters, I think it's our corporate social responsibility to see what we can do to help save the Earth," says LeBeau. "We have a responsibility to our community to help save energy, help with recycling, several energy efforts we need to be making to be responsible to the Earth."
The U.S. Green Building Council is a non-profit affiliation of companies nationwide committed to encouraging construction of cost-efficient and energy saving buildings. The LEED certification system provides a checklist for commercial and residential construction to address environmental concerns.
According to a U.S. Green Building Council study conducted by Booz Allen Hamilton
and released in November, green building is expected to support 7.9 million jobs in the United States during the next four years.
Writer: Carter Gaddis
Source: Nicole LeBeau, Sweetbay