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"Being green has always been a cornerstone of Room & Board’s business. We strive to reduce our environmental impact, commit to responsibly sourced materials and promote sustainable practices within the home furnishings industry. Partnering with Sustology made sense from a business and environmental standpoint. We were able to take our best practices to a new level—achieving LEED Gold certification, reducing our energy consumption and improving the work experience for our staff members.”

Bruce Champeau - President and COO, Room & Board

Room & Board

Opportunity

Founded by John Gabbert in 1980, Room & Board is a privately held home furnishings retailer based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Selling modern, handcrafted home furniture and accessories, it has 14 retail locations throughout the United States and several distribution centers.

Room & Board has been experiencing tremendous growth in its business due to its high quality products and its focus on American craftsmanship. In 2015, Room & Board leased a 260,000 square feet warehouse based in Rogers, MN, in order to handle the growth. That opened up space in its Central Campus northwest warehouse. The company decided to repurpose the empty warehouse for its popular weekend retail outlet. This would improve efficiencies and increase the size of the outlet, allowing for the demolition of the old outlet building (which was non-contiguous) for additional parking, and adding a second floor for of office space for their growing headquarters’ needs.

While already embracing sustainable values and investing in LED lighting, Room & Board was looking for more holistic, strategic framework for managing and operating their corporate headquarters expansion – as well as for their retail and warehouse facilities located throughout the United States.

Solution

Room & Board hired Sustology initially to consult on the sustainability of their expansion. Sustology successfully brought Room & Board into Xcel’s Energy Design Assistance Program, which provided free energy modeling and cost/benefit analyses for their investment decisions, producing a significant utility rebate that helped pay for their sustainable investments.

Sustology also familiarized management with the LEED O+M rating system by hosting a charrette and LEED Gap Analysis. Initially seen as only a set of guidelines, actually going through the certification process provided an overall strategy and framework to enhance its existing corporate-wide commitment to sustainability. Solutions included sustainable purchasing, waste, and site management policies; a major replacement of turf with native and adapted vegetation; 51% water reduction, and 100% renewable energy offsets.

Conducted over a period of 12 months, Sustology led Room & Board toward achieving LEED Gold certification, one of only 31 buildings in the state of Minnesota to receive LEED Gold or higher under the O+M rating system.

The Bottom Line
Sustology’s engagement provided Room & Board with a 20-year NPV of $215K on utility bill savings alone. But the real value comes from putting into practice their commitment to being a good corporate citizen.