As we continue on our path to becoming a $40 billion-plus global value retailer, we keep sustainability top of mind by examining where we might improve operational efficiency and reduce environmental impact. 2014 was an exciting year as we initiated construction and designed the interior space of our new Canadian corporate headquarters. We also completed construction of a new HomeGoods distribution facility in the U.S. Although the two facilities serve very different purposes, both buildings incorporate sustainability elements in their design and will support our organization’s needs as we continue to grow.
TJX first entered Canada 25 years ago with the acquisition of 5 Winners stores. Now, TJX Canada operates 368 Winners, HomeSense and Marshalls stores combined.* And, in the past 5 years alone, we’ve grown our store base over 25%. Having outgrown our current office space, we developed a plan to add home office infrastructure by constructing a larger Canadian corporate headquarters building.
During planning discussions for our new building, we made a conscious decision to integrate environmentally sound building design elements into the project. At the outset of the project, we made the decision to work towards LEED guidelines to help us build and operate a “greener” Canadian headquarters. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. During construction, we installed energy efficient lighting and HVAC systems and ensured that all appliances and equipment were energy efficient. The building includes several features new to TJX home offices, like electric car charging stations, a bicycle storage room and a butterfly garden. Our cafeteria features beautiful tables and chairs made from local urban trees that would have otherwise become mulch.
As we prepared to exit our former Canadian corporate headquarters, we carefully considered opportunities to reduce our impact on the environment. We engaged with a not-for-profit organization to see that all unwanted office furniture or equipment is donated to charitable organizations, or recycled appropriately, and not sent to landfill.
Now that we’ve moved into our new Canadian headquarters, our Associates are contributing to our ongoing green efforts through their participation in recycling and composting. Today, we have tri-sorter waste bins in common areas for organic material, recycling and landfill waste versus individual office trash receptacles. The interior of the building is bright and open with an abundance of plants to enhance the workspace. Our new Canadian headquarters also offers a smart commute program, which allows Associates to easily find others in their neighborhood (via an online app) and arrange a carpool to and from work.
Our new HomeGoods distribution center in Jefferson, Georgia is also a good example of our environmental sustainability efforts. HomeGoods operates over 450 stores in the U.S., and we have ambitious plans for the future growth of the division. To support our store growth, it was essential for us to expand our infrastructure so that we can process and distribute a higher volume of exciting home fashions to our stores from conveniently located distribution centers across the U.S. With this new facility, we have built in the capacity necessary to meet our growth goals for the Southeast region of the U.S. for many years.
The 800,000 square foot facility is dynamic and provides us with maximum operational flexibility. The building design elements include an open concept floor plan, so that product can be moved efficiently and quickly. Similar to our efforts in Canada, we included a LEED representative on our project development team to help us incorporate processes to increase energy and water efficiency, reduce waste and support environmentally sound practices. Our energy efficient initiatives in the distribution center include the use of a roof and concrete surfaces that significantly reduce heat generation, the installation of low flow toilets and faucets that reduce water use by over 35%, an HVAC system free of CFC-based refrigerants, and the implementation of landscaping and irrigation systems designed to reduce the total water used for irrigation by 50%.
The building is comprised of more than 20% recycled materials. For our Associates, we provided 30 preferred parking spaces for low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles and dedicated areas for the collection and storage of recyclable materials, including cardboard and paper. We are excited about this project and look forward to sharing our best practices more broadly across our organization.
*As of posting date: April 2015