Though Florida holds the official title of Sunshine State, the Golden State of California isn't far behind when it comes to sunny days (fun fact: the bustling city of Los Angeles gets an estimated 292 days of sun every year). What to do when you have so much of a good thing? Put it to use!
That's the idea behind the project undertaken by Federal Realty, a company that owns several shopping malls across the state. They worked to install solar panels on the rooftops of Westgate Mall in San Jose and East Bay Bridge Center in Emeryville. We have Nordstrom Racks in each of those malls, so we supported Federal Realty throughout the project. Our Westgate Mall store is now home to 308 solar panels, while our East Bay Bridge Center store hosts 696 panels.
Why are these additions so important? Solar panels absorb sunlight and convert it into electricity – the brighter the sunshine, the more power we get – allowing us to reduce our dependency on other power sources that can cause pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. These panels also have the capability of sending the solar-panel-produced electricity that we don't use back into the power grid to contribute to California's energy resources, especially during hot summer days.
Overall, the solar panels in our Westgate Mall and East Bay Bridge Center locations will generate 16 and 82 percent, respectively, of the energy the stores will use in a year. Aside from savings on our power bill, the panels on the two stores combined will help prevent about 276 metric tons of carbon dioxide from being emitted into our atmosphere.
The investment in solar panels is really an extension of Federal Realty's core values. "We challenge the way buildings impact the environment by focusing on resource stewardship with water, energy and material conservation strategies," said Federal Realty Director of Sustainability Chris Brown. "As the solar program evolves, it has become unique because it provides key stakeholders, like Nordstrom, with additional opportunities to pursue their own energy objectives and results in environmental benefits that exceed what could be achieved through our independent efforts," said Brown.
These aren't the first Rack stores to host solar panels – we have two other stores (in California and New Jersey) that have been a part of similar projects. These collaborations have given us the chance to learn more about the benefits of solar and alternative types of renewable energy sources.
With nearly every facet of our business affecting the environment, we are committed to finding ways to reduce the energy we use. After all, we want to we leave it better than we found it.