Kum & Go Convenience Stores Help Boost State's LEED Projects

by George Waldon  on Monday, Jul. 15, 2013 12:00 am  

Chris Ladner (left) and Chad Oppenhuizen of the Viridian consulting firm of Little Rock are helping Kum & Go expand its LEED-certified stores in Arkansas and 10 other states. (Photo by Jason Burt)

The LEED program at Kum & Go involves a mix of new construction and analyzing whether to sell, remodel or replace its inventory of older locations. That’s a list of about 450 properties and growing.

At last count, the Kum & Go chain operates 38 stores in Arkansas. The company is touted as the fifth-largest privately held convenience store chain in the nation, operating in 11 states in Middle America.

“We’re in the process of going through all of our stores,” Elfers said. “Some we are able to remodel. In some markets, we may choose to raze and rebuild.”

The company’s 4,958-SF prototype store is the sole focus for new construction these days. The configuration is the Kum & Go standard bearer for its green program and the model of choice for all new stores.

“We call it our 5K design,” Elfers said. “We like that footprint. We’re really happy with it.”

The 5K design is bringing standardization to the company’s retail operations, and this cookie-cutter approach has some benefits in streamlining the LEED certification process.

Kum & Go is proud of its standing as the first and only convenience store that participates in the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Volume Program. The Volume Program simplifies documentation and speeds up the certification for multiple buildings of similar type.

According to the U.S. Green Building Council, the program reduces costs by taking advantage of uniformity in building design, construction and management practices. For organizations that certify 25 or more projects within three years, the Volume Program offers valuable economies of scale. Per-project certification costs drop significantly as the number of projects rises.

“It’s indicative of a corporate commitment to green building,” Smith said of Kum & Go’s participation in the Volume Program.

The Viridian consulting firm of Little Rock is helping Kum & Go with its green building program. The relationship dates back to 2011.

“Our job was to enhance what they were doing and get them into the Volume Program,” said Chris Ladner, partner at Viridian. “They’re a nice company to work with. They’re continually optimizing their store model to enhance energy efficiencies.

“It’s a challenge to them because of all the refrigeration they use. They’ve really gone after trying to refine the efficiencies of the refrigeration system.”



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