By Rachel Leber
WASHINGTON — Major office supply store Staples, based in Framingham, Mass., recently received the Sustained Excellence Award for the eighth year in a row by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE), both Washington-based government organizations. The award is given to businesses and organizations for continued leadership for protection of the environment through superior energy-efficiency achievements. Staples was named the 2017 Energy Star Partner of the Year on April 26 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington.
Staples has been an Energy Star partner since 1999. The award given this year was due to the contributions they have made with energy reduction at its numerous facilities, its continued commitment to climate change and for their educational efforts with their staff and surrounding community. Staples runs 30 of their facilities with a total of 33 solar arrays in the U.S., which generate more than 18 million kWh of clean energy annually. Additionally, the company operates fuel cells at their distribution centers in Ontario, Canada and Rialto, Calif., which are complemented by solar power installations in both cases.
Additionally, Staples runs an energy audit program to identify energy reduction opportunities in their stores and distribution centers, with a focus on lighting, battery chargers, conveyors, HVAC and overall energy management system. In Staples’ 527 U.S. Energy Star-verified facilities (38 percent of their U.S. locations), the company has converted their lighting to lower wattage and more efficient fixtures, have implemented lighting motion sensors for occupancy and daylight harvesting and have installed energy management systems for the control of lighting and HVAC.
Additionally, the company has installed variable-speed drives on HVAC equipment, air compressors and conveyors.
Staples’ energy reduction program has resulted in over $1 million savings for operating expenses annually in the U.S. alone, and an average of 5 percent reduction in electricity use over the last three years. Staples currently has multiple goals for the future, including a plan to achieve Energy Star building certification for 50 percent of their U.S. facilities, reduction of electrical intensity on a global level by 25 percent and the reduction of total carbon emissions by 50 percent globally by 2020.