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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Kum & Go LC convenience stores have officially joined the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Volume Program and helped Arkansas' roster of LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) projects pass the century mark earlier this year, according to an Arkansas Business report.
The c-store retailer has contributed six LEED-certified projects and registered nine more for certification since 2011, when it announced plans to open 20 to 25 new stores in central Arkansas.
"It's a big commitment by the company," said Linda Smith, executive director of the Arkansas Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council. "Traditionally, new LEED projects are office buildings, schools and public buildings. We're starting to see LEED expand to other categories, [such as] non-traditional areas like restaurants."
Kum & Go's Springdale, Ark., store at 1010 N. Thompson St. was the first in the state to earn LEED certification in June 2012. Three more stores in Springdale, Bryant and Cabot, Ark., followed in November 2012. Two more Arkansas stores located at 2811 E. Central Ave. in Bentonville and 2388 N. College Ave. in Fayetteville were certified last week.
West Des Moines, Iowa-based Kum & Go operates 38 stores in Arkansas and 421 total in 11 states.
"We're in the process of going through all of our stores," Megan Elfers, director of marketing communications for Kum & Go, told the news outlet. "Some we are able to remodel. In some markets, we may choose to raze and rebuild."
Kum & Go's new stores are built according to the footprint of its 5,000-square-foot "5K model," which is designed to be LEED-certified. This prototype helped it become the first convenience store chain to participate in the LEED Volume Program, which simplifies documentation and quickens the certification process for multiple buildings that display uniformity in building design, construction and management practices.
The LEED Volume Program offers economies of scale to companies that certify 25 or more projects within three years. Per-certification costs drop as the total number of projects rises.
Kum & Go's LEED-certified stores include a number of green features, including LED lighting; the use of locally-sourced, sustainable materials; high-efficiency equipment; daylighting or honeycomb-shaped Solatube prisms in the roof; low-flow, water-saving fixtures; single-stream recycling; reflective concrete in the parking lot to prevent extreme temperature differences; and a bike rack and changing rooms.