Ikea's new Greenwich store receives highest BREEAM sustainability rating

Home improvement retailer Ikea's Greenwich store has achieved sustainable construction certification BREEAM's 'Outstanding' status, just over two months after it opened.

Only 319 other buildings globally have achieved BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ to date

Only 319 other buildings globally have achieved BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ to date

The store, which is based in Greenwich’s Peninsula district and has been dubbed Ikea’s “flagship sustainable” store in the UK, received the accolade on Wednesday (10 April) after the retailer applied for the award during the four-year planning, development and construction process.  

In order to receive BREEAM ‘Outstanding’, a building must receive at least 85% in the body’s overall sustainability assessment, with Ikea Greenwich having received 90.44%. The body’s methodology accounts for factors across the building’s life-cycle, including low-carbon construction methods and sustainably sourced raw materials, operational energy and water use, and indoor air quality.

The 32,000sqm store was designed with an array of built-in sustainability features, including ground-source heat pumps; rainwater harvesting systems and greywater treatment; 100% LED Lighting; passive daylighting; energy-efficient heating and electric vehicle (EV) charging points. It also benefits from an outdoor wildlife park, active greenhouse and 2,600-panel rooftop solar array.

Its BREEAM rating, which comes after the building was awarded the body’s second-highest (‘Excellent’) status during the late stages of its construction, is the highest achieved by any Ikea store. In total, only 320 buildings globally have achieved BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ to date.

“Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do and, through our combined efforts across the business and in partnership with others, we have been able to achieve an ‘Outstanding’ BREEAM UK New Construction rating,” IKEA UK & Ireland’s country sustainability manager Hege Sæbjørnsen said.

“This is a prolific milestone in our journey to becoming a more sustainable and circular business - and also in how we hope to inspire change beyond our own business.”

People and Planet Positive

The accolade for the £100m store comes as Ikea is striving to meet the aims of its ‘People and Planet positive’ sustainability strategy, which includes ambitious pledges to become “climate-positive”, free from single-use plastic and to generate more renewable energy than the business uses.

These overarching aims were set last June, alongside commitments to use 100% renewable or recycled materials in Ikea products and to source only sustainably certified cotton, wood and seafood.

Last week, Ikea published its first update on these commitments, revealing mixed progress. The update states that 60% of all the raw materials Ikea sourced to produce products during 2018 were from “renewable” sources such as cotton and bamboo, with a further 10% accounted for by pre or post-consumer recycled material, putting Ikea on track to meet its 2030 aim in this field.

Positive progress was also made last year for sourcing certified raw materials, but the transition to a low-carbon business model was found to be slowing down. The climate footprint of Ikea’s value chain during 2018 was 2.8% higher than in 2016; the retailer claims this was largely due to the growth of the business and is now predicting that its growth will not decouple from its emissions for a “couple” of years.

Edie’s editorial team were recently taken on a tour of Ikea Greenwich. You can read our insight into that experience here.

Sarah George



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