As TJX has grown, we have kept sustainability in mind, considering opportunities where we might improve operational efficiency and reduce our environmental impact. This includes incorporating environmentally sustainable features when feasible as we construct new buildings.
It is an exciting time for us as, in 2017, we initiated construction of our new European corporate headquarters and completed construction of two new solar panel installations on Arizona distribution centers, including the largest solar panel installation in TJX history. Although our distribution centers and corporate offices serve very different purposes, the buildings incorporate sustainability elements in their design to help support our Company’s needs into the future.
TJX entered Europe nearly 25 years ago with our first T.K. Maxx stores in the U.K. Today, we operate more than 600 stores through two retail chains, across six European countries. Since just 2015, we have expanded T.K. Maxx into Austria and the Netherlands and Homesense into Ireland. Having outgrown our current office space in Watford, England, we developed a plan to expand our corporate offices right within Watford.
We made a decision to integrate environmentally sound building design elements into the project, starting right with the kick-off of construction in 2017. For instance, we are recycling or reusing construction materials like electric cabling, insulation, plaster board, glazing, and plastics where possible. Some heavier materials, such as bricks and concrete from the construction site, are being crushed and processed on site so that they can then be reused for later construction work. And that’s just construction. Installing energy efficient heating/cooling systems and lighting, expanding terraces and landscaping “green” areas, and maximizing natural light are just a few other elements that will support our commitment to sustainability. Our goal is to achieve BREEAM certification (“Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method,” an environmental assessment method and rating system for buildings) based on the buildings’ environmental sustainability credentials.
We believe our solar panel efforts position us well to expand these projects where it makes sense for the business in the future.
Our solar installation initiatives also reflect our commitment to incorporating environmental sustainability efforts in building construction and renovation. In the U.S., specific efforts include collaborating with landlords to have solar panels installed on the roofs of select stores and distribution centers. We have also designed the roofs on our new U.S. distribution centers to accommodate solar panels and have evaluated the potential for solar panel installations at existing distribution centers and home offices. We believe these efforts position us well to expand our solar projects where it makes sense for the business in the future.
In 2017, we were proud to go live with two new solar panel installations on our Arizona distribution centers: