Verizon rolls out energy efficient retail stores - Smart Energy Decisions

Commercial, Demand Management, Energy Efficiency  -  October 19, 2016 - By Amy Poszywak

Verizon aims for efficiency with 'smart store' design

Photo (provided by Verizon): One of Verizon's new "smart stores," featuring energy efficient lighting. 

A Smart Energy Decisions exclusive 

This story is the 15th and final in a series of original features exploring the successes of a selection of corporations recognized by the U.S. EPA's Energy Star program for achievements in energy efficiency. Each company we've talked with for this series, made possible through our partnership with Energy Star, has a unique story about their efforts to reduce electric use across their organization. Taken in aggregate, we hope the series provides readers with a useful glimpse into the kinds of strategies being implemented across the commercial and industrial sectors as well as a deeper understanding of vetted, real-life tactics for cutting consumption.

When people think of Verizon, they typically think of cell phones.

That might change for people working in energy or sustainability after a closer look at its long-running commitment to energy efficiency. It's a story some employees say is rooted in a corporate commitment to doing the right thing because it's the right thing, not for notoriety.

That might change for people working in energy or sustainability after a closer look at its long-running commitment to energy efficiency. It's a story some employees say is rooted in a corporate commitment to doing the right thing because it's the right thing, not for notoriety.

One example of that commitment is illustrated through the recent rollout of its new "smart store" design, which incorporates a number of cutting edge, energy-saving features into Verizon Wireless retail locations throughout the U.S. These stores, the first of which opened in May 2013, often feature solar window film and are lit almost entirely with LEDs, use Energy Star certified appliances and include energy management systems to ensure lights are off when not in use.

"Verizon continuously looks for ways to improve energy consumption at our buildings and the transition from legacy stores to the new smart store design is evidence of that," Pam McKay, a senior analyst with the company's real estate operations team recently told Smart Energy Decisions.

Kevin Fernandes, director of retail strategy and distribution at Verizon, who oversaw the process of coming up with the design for the new smart stores, said his team worked closely with the corporate sustainability team to ensure they would not only be technology smart, but energy smart as well.

"From the equipment used, to materials selected, rebates to be taken advantage of, even down to the cleaning solutions supplied by our janitorial services, all of those things have been very top of mind from a sustainability aspect, and we take pride in that," Fernandes said.

The rollout also contributed to the number of Energy Star certified buildings Verizon has in its portfolio. To date, 190 of Verizon's retail stores are Energy Star certified; the company expects more to be added to that total by the end of the year. The company has committed publicly to certify 100% of its eligible locations so every building or store that is eligible gets Energy Star certified.

The majority of the new smart stores are also LEED certified. Rollout of the new store design, which is ongoing as new stores are built and older ones reach the point where they need upgrading, has allowed Verizon to be even more aggressive in its pursuit of LEED certified buildings, Fernandes said. Before the smart store rollout, Verizon had 131 LEED certified stores; today there are more than 300. 

Michael Dunigan, who works for Kevin as a manager of retail strategy and distribution, reiterated the company's focus on the energy-saving details of the store designs.

"We spend a lot of time and effort on being sustainable, and energy-conscious," he said. "But we don't tout it a lot, because I don't think we do it for the marketing, we do it because it's the right thing to do."

Verizon received Energy Star's partner of the year award for sustained excellence this spring in recognition for its commitment to cutting its companywide carbon intensity in half by 2020, and for promoting energy efficiency awareness among customers and employees. Also listed among the company's key accomplishments: Combining Verizon Wireless with Verizon Corporate Real Estate to form Verizon Team Energy, growing its cross-functional energy management team and increasing the size of its portfolio of buildings benchmarked in Energy Star's portfolio manager by 13%.


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