Starbucks is one of those rare food and beverage chains that embraces sustainability in both their products (Fair Trade coffee, for example) and in retail locations. The latter can be seen in Starbucks’ newly completed Manhattan Soho pilot store, which is up for LEED certification in July.
The shop incorporates a laundry list of green features that increase its chances of getting LEED certified, including dual-flush toilets, low-flow faucets, water-based paints, and LED bulbs. In an interview with Tonic’s Nadia Hosni, Jim Hanna, Starbucks’ director of environmental affairs, said that Starbucks simply aimed to create the most sustainable store possible–LEED certification was an afterthought. Still, the possibility of approval from the U.S. Green Building Council must have crossed Starbucks designers’ minds at some point.
Starbucks’ Soho shop doesn’t skimp on design, either. The store attempts to shed the Starbucks corporate image with local and homey touches, including:
- The countertops of the Clover® and espresso bar, bar cladding, column cladding, chair rail and base are made of repurposed white oak recovered from several barns in Somerset, PA.
- The community table is also made of repurposed wood from Somerset, PA.
- The bar casework, wood seat roundabouts and metal stools were manufactured locally on Long Island.
- The magnetic community board is made of metal panels repurposed from retired espresso machines.
- The wallpaper next to the Clover® bar area is made of reused burlap coffee sacks from Starbucks roasting plants.
- Custom artwork by local artist Peter Tunney integrates Starbucks existing marketing collateral into the canvases.
The focus on all things local isn’t new to Starbucks–founder Howard Schultz has recently encouraged stores to feature local artists, live music, and local bean providers. But the sustainability element is a change, and it will likely be incorporated into all Starbucks stores as part of the five-year renovation cycle. Even if the coffee chain uses its newfound focus on sustainable design to drum up publicity, we won’t complain.