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An IKEA goes ultra-sustainable

IKEA will have more to show off than its iconic blue exterior walls when it opens south of Denver this fall.

The Centennial store, to be the furniture retailer's second largest in the United States, will be the first IKEA in the country to incorporate geothermal and solar technology.

IKEA has been evaluating the potential for geothermal when it considers opening a new store, said Joseph Roth, spokesman for IKEA's North America Service Office, located near its Conshohocken store in Philadelphia.

IKEA has 15 to 20 stores in Europe and Asia with geothermal systems, Roth said. Geothermal systems include drilling holes into the earth to hold pipes with heat-transferring liquid. These pipes circulate through underground loops to heat or cool the store.

David Golias, an IKEA fan who started a blog after hearing about IKEA's plan to open a store in his Colorado hometown, praised the company's decision to incorporate clean energy technology.

"I think it is a great example they are setting with their geothermal heating and cooling right from the start, and their recent solar panel installation," said Golias, who said he visits IKEA stores frequently when he's on business trips.

REC Solar is designing, building and installing the store's 60,000-square-foot solar panel cluster. It will include more than 2,200 panels that will produce approximately 740,000 kilowatts-per-hour annually -- the equivalent of reducing more than 580 tons of carbon dioxide, IKEA said.

IKEA's trademark blue exterior walls were erected in Centennial at the end of last year. Roth says this ensures the store's anticipated opening for this fall.

The store will feature a 500-seat restaurant, 50 room settings, three complete model home interiors and a supervised children's play area. The facility itself is 415,000 square feet on 13.5 acres on the western side of Interstate 25.

IKEA estimates it will hire 400 employees, create 500 construction jobs and generate tax revenue for local schools and governments.

Roth said the Centennial location reinforces IKEA's commitment to environmental and social responsibility.

"We were able to do it in the existing budget," Roth said. "Most importantly, it will further reduce the energy cost of the store and help contribute to the greener electrical grid in Colorado."

This will be the first IKEA in Colorado and the 38thin the United States.

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Michelle Davenport

ColoradoBiz intern Michelle Davenport is a journalism student at the University of Colorado.


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