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IKEA’s U.S. solar presence brightens

BY HBSDealer Staff

IKEA has plugged-in the solar energy system installed at its distribution center in Perryville, Md.

The 768,972-sq.-ft. PV array consists of a 2,674.9-kW system, built with 18,576 panels, and is the state’s largest rooftop array. The IKEA distribution center will produce approximately 3,397,178 kWh of clean electricity annually, the equivalent of reducing 2,397 tons of carbon dioxide, eliminating the emissions of 499 cars or powering 359 homes yearly.

This installation represents the furniture retailer’s 36th completed solar project in the United States, with three more locations underway, making the eventual U.S. solar presence of Ikea nearly 90% of its U.S. locations with a total generation of 38 MW. IKEA owns and operates each of its solar PV energy systems atop its buildings — as opposed to a solar lease or power purchase agreement — and globally has allocated $1.8 billion to invest in renewable energy through 2015. This investment reinforces the long-term commitment of Ikea to sustainability and confidence in photovoltaic technology. Consistent with the company’s goal of being energy independent by 2020, Ikea has installed more than 250,000 solar panels on buildings across the world and owns/operates approximately 110 wind turbines in Europe.

For the development, design and installation of the Perryville distribution center’s customized solar power system, IKEA contracted with Inovateus Solar, an industry-leading solar power distributor and integrator specializing in large-scale solar installations.

“As one of the largest rooftop arrays in the country, this installation will ensure that the Ikea Perryville distribution center consumes very little power from the electric grid,” said Ed Morris, Perryville distribution center manager. “IKEA is thrilled at this opportunity to further our investment in this community while also continuing our commitment of incorporating sustainability into our supply chain operations. We appreciate the continued support of the City of Perryville, Cecil County, Delmarva Power and Inovateus Solar, our partners in this project.”

IKEA, drawing from its Swedish heritage and respect of nature, believes it can be a good business while doing good business and aims to minimize impacts on the environment. Globally, Ikea evaluates locations regularly for conservation opportunities, integrates innovative materials into product design, works to maintain sustainable resources and flat-packs goods for efficient distribution. Specific U.S. sustainable efforts include recycling waste material; incorporating environmental measures into the actual buildings with energy-efficient HVAC and lighting systems, recycled construction materials, skylights in warehouse areas and water-conserving restrooms; and operationally, eliminating plastic bags from the check-out process, phasing-out the sale of incandescent light bulbs and facilitating recycling of customers’ compact fluorescent bulbs. IKEA has installed electric vehicle charging stations at nine stores in the Western U.S., and by 2016 will go L.E.D. by selling and using lightbulbs that are only L.E.D. 

Constructed on 278 acres in the community of Perryville, in Northern Md.’s Cecil County, this 1.7 million-sq.-ft. Ikea distribution center began operations in 2002, employs approximately 550 coworkers and currently helps provide inventory to many U.S. Ikea stores.

Founded in 1943 in Sweden, Ikea currently operates more than 330 stores in 40 countries, including 38 in the United States, as well as six distribution centers in North America. IKEA incorporates sustainability into day-to-day business and supports initiatives benefiting children and the environment.

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White Cliff Pet Products launches Breathe Free

BY Ken Clark

Manchester, N.H.-based White Cliff Pet Products has announced the launch of Breathe Free Litterbox Mate, a cat litter pad designed to eliminate litter box odor, according to the company.

The litter pad blocks cat urine and fecal odor as well as bacteria growth, according to the company. Breathe Free Litterbox Mate litter pads are filled with a mineral that absorbs moisture and gases, such as ammonia, in turn neutralizing and eliminating smells from any-sized litter boxes. 

Created in 2012, White Cliff Pet Products dedicates a portion of each Breathe Free Litterbox Mate sale to kittens and adult cats housed in animal shelters and adoption agencies nationwide.

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Housing starts cross the million mark

BY Ken Clark

Housing starts are back above 1 million.

The seasonally adjusted annual rate of new residential construction surged to 1.036 million in March, according to data released Tuesday morning by the Commerce Department. That’s 7.0% above last month’s pace, and a whopping 46.7% ahead of the pace from March 2012, when starts were stalled at 706,000.

The total housing starts figure is the highest since June 2008, when starts hit a pace of 1.046 million.

In the single-family housing arena, there was less to celebrate. Starts declined 4.8% from the previous month’s rate. Still, single-family starts of 619,000 for March were up 28.7% from the same month a year ago.

Privately owned housing units authorized by building permits in March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 902,000. This is 3.9% below the revised February rate of 939,000, but is 17.3% above the March 2012 estimate of 769,000.

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