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July 22, 2019
PCC Community Markets will be the first grocery store to pursue Living Building Challenge Petal Certification, the world's most rigorous green building standard, it said in a press release.
The certification program's performance areas are water, energy, health and happiness, equity, materials, place and beauty.
PCC will pursue the latter three of those “petals” — as required for certification — at its five new stores: Ballard, opening later this year; Bellevue, downtown Seattle and Madison Valley, opening in 2020; and West Seattle, reopening in a new building later this year.
Brenna Davis, PCC's vice president of social and environmental responsibility, said “In partnership with the International Living Future Institute, we are reimagining how grocery stores are built — using less water and energy, designing refrigeration systems that have a reduced climate impact, utilizing building materials that protect human health, and creating spaces that nurture a deeper sense of connection to the environment and our community.”
The institute runs the certification program.
Those new stores will meet petal requirements with energy-efficient lighting, heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration equipment; reclaimed materials; building materials and finishes that avoid chemicals with the greatest impact to human and ecosystem health; refrigeration systems that use refrigerants with a lower climate impact; electric vehicle charging stations; bicycle storage and shower facilities for staff; habitat exchange offsets; and public art and design features.
PCC said it is the nation's largest community-owned food market. Based in Seattle, it operates 11 stores in the Puget Sound area and has been designing its stores to reduce its environmental impact since the 1990s, it said.
The co-op said it achieved 100% renewable energy in its store operations by buying credits equivalent to the stores' 2018 energy consumption; and it achieved carbon-neutral store operations by buying offsets equivalent to its 2018 store carbon footprint. Also, this year it is rolling out compostable deli containers.
PCC said its Burien store, which opened in May 2018, is the first U.S. grocery store certified under the new LEED v4 program for exceptional design, construction and operation of a green building.
Co-op sales were $288 million in 2018 and net income was nearly $4 million, PCC said.