DDi - July 2012 - (Page 18)
18 | Greentailing
Don’t let your fixtures be an afterthought
s retailers seek to make their operations and retail projects more sustainable, they will invest much effort on designing their retail construction projects and prototypes to meet environmental priorities, while giving far less consideration to the display fixtures being procured to go into completed “green” retail spaces. This is typically the result of retailers not considering fixtures to be a major component of a green approach. But, when you start to look at the individual parts and pieces, it becomes apparent that retail display fixtures can have a significant role in a sustainable strategy, and having fixtures manufactured to be green can make it easier for projects to meet such goals. Consider the LEED rating system for Commercial Interiors as an example—permanent fixtures and millwork can have significant impacts on multiple “Materials and Resources,” as well as “Indoor Environmental Quality” credits. Fixtures with high levels of recycled content, materials sourced and manufactured within 500 miles of the project site, materials considered rapidly renewable (such as wheat board) and with high percentages of FSC-certified wood can be the deciding factor between a certification threshold. Given the right circumstances, that may even be the key factor in being able to get a project certified at all. Since most retailers outsource fixture manufacturing to outside companies, it is important to not only specify the use of green materials, but also to require the manufacturer to use sustainable processes or procure fixtures from companies that already have sustainable manufacturing and operations in place.
When approaching a manufacturer about fabricating green fixtures, be sure to present them with your priorities from the outset, and begin a line of communication early on.
Let them know, for example, that you are seeking a design that uses a high percentage of local materials or would like to use all FSC wood. A holistic approach to sustainability often goes well beyond searching for LEED credits and can progress to a deeper investigation of the lifecycle of a product and how companies run their operations. A benefit of these early discussions is that they can help identify vendors who can meet your needs before it becomes too late—or too costly.
In addition to considerations made to the sourcing and manufacturing of materials, the elements going into fixtures and millwork must also be considered, especially when pursuing LEED credits related to Indoor Environmental Quality. Fixture manufacturers should be consulted prior to any fabrication to ensure that they are using materials and adhesives with VOC levels at or below the thresholds set out within LEED guidelines. Moreover, it should be confirmed whether they use wood products that contain added urea-formaldehyde, as this has a dramatic impact on indoor air quality. For retailers seeking LEED certification, store fixtures should not be relegated to an afterthought, but should be a key aspect of any certification strategy. In many situations, fixtures may account for a large percentage of the project cost and, therefore, can have a major impact on the project’s LEED certification level. But in a more philosophical sense, if the main purpose of building green is to create healthy, sustainable environments, then retail fixtures must be considered, since they have a significant impact on the air quality and the general “well being” of a retail environment—especially when you consider that in a successful retail store, customers and staff should be in frequent, direct contact with a store’s fixtures. —Kenneth A. Gruskin is principal and founder of Springfield, N.J.-based Gruskin Group, an integrated retail design firm that builds unified brand experiences through architecture, brand development, visual communications, Web/interactive, industrial design, interior design, strategic consulting and sustainable design. Visit www.gruskingroup.com.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of DDi - July 2012
DDi - July 2012
From the Editor
From the Show Director
El Palacio de Hierro
Global Department Store Summit
State of the Fixture Industry Roundtable
2012 Fixture Leaders listing
2012 Fixture Leaders company index
DDi - July 2012