Distribution, Manufacturing Facilities Are Going Green

Home Depot, NCR are greening their companies. Fortune 500 companies are increasingly using energy-saving measures in their corporate real estate.  Some firms are retrofitting warehouses to conserve energy or are applying Japanese principles to building design and operation.

Home Depot, for example, has 2,245 retail stores comprising 235 million SF nationally, owns 89 percent of its real estate and is working to reduce its energy consumption.  In 2004, energy use for stores was approximately 25 kWh per square foot.  Today, energy consumption is just 21 kWh per square foot, a 16 percent reduction.

Since 2004, energy use has been cut by 2.6 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh), enough to power 203,000 homes for a full year.  Home Depot’s objective is to reach a 20 percent reduction in kWh per square foot in U.S. locations by 2015.  The company also plans to cut its domestic supply chain greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 20 percent by 2015.

Yet another example is NCR Corporation, which used Japanese “lean” practices at its new 350,000 SF plant in Norcross, GA, where it manufactures ATMs.  The technique eliminates waste and streamlines production processes.  Because NCR recycled cinder blocks and carpeting at the facility, it is seeking LEED certification on the retrofitted building.  Additionally, NCR produces cash registers that use two-sided receipt printers that cut paper usage by as much as 45 percent and use less power.

Converting the plant to make it energy efficient was not easy, according to Beth McClurg, NCR’s director of corporate real estate, who notes that “It is taking extra cost to do, which may not have immediate payback in terms of our financials, but because of the importance, we’re proceeding and hope to have LEED certification soon.”