IKEA announced plans to install a fuel cell system manufactured by Bloom Energy at its location in Emeryville, CA – one of two San Francisco-area stores for the Swedish company. Bloom manufactures most of its fuel cells at a site in Newark.
This project represents the first IKEA site to convert gas into electricity through a clean electro-chemical process. The fuel cell system will be up and running by this summer. California also offers incentives that favor installation of Bloom systems.
Slightly larger than the physical size of a commercial back-up generator, the 300-kW system will operate on biogas and produce approximately 2,497,651 kilowattt hours annually of electricity annually for the store, the equivalent eliminating the emissions of 249 cars or to providing electricity for 163 homes a year.
Combined with the solar energy system installed atop the store in 2011, these fuel cells will help generate more than a majority of the store’s energy onsite.
This investment in fuel cell technology reflects the company’s goal to be energy independent by 2020 and complements other IKEA renewable programs in the U.S., including solar presence at nearly 90% of its locations, a geothermal heating and cooling system at two stores, and two wind farms totaling 104 turbines.
IKEA operates one of the largest rooftop solar systems on the East Coast at its distribution center in Perryville, MD, west of the Delaware line.
Globally, IKEA evaluates locations regularly for conservation opportunities, integrates innovative materials into product design, works to maintain sustainable resources, and flat-packs goods for efficient distribution.
U.S. sustainable efforts include: recycling waste material; incorporating energy-efficient HVAC and lighting systems, recycled construction materials, skylights in warehouse areas, and water-conserving restrooms.
IKEA eliminated plastic bags from the check-out process, phased-out the sale of incandescent bulbs, facilitates recycling of customers’ compact fluorescent bulbs, and by 2016 will sell only L.E.D. IKEA also has installed EV vehicle charging stations at 13 stores, with plans to add more locations.
Located on 15 acres at the confluence of I-80, I-580 and I-880, the 274,000-square-foot IKEA Emeryville opened in April 2000 and employs 300 co-workers. In addition to about 10,000 items, IKEA Emeryville presents 50 different room-settings, three model home interiors, a supervised children’s play area, and a 250-seat restaurant. serving Swedish specialties such as meatballs with lingonberries and salmon plates, as well as American dishes. Other family-friendly features include a Children’s IKEA area in the Showroom, baby care rooms, play areas throughout the store, and preferred parking.
Since its 1943 founding in Sweden, IKEA has offered home furnishing. There are currently more than 360 IKEA stores in 47 countries, including 40 in the U.S.