The underground work for this geothermal system involved drilling 180 boreholes – six inches in diameter and 600 feet deep – into the earth across part of the 19-acre IKEA parcel. Pipes placed into these boreholes formed an underground network of loops for circulating 36,000 gallons of heat-transferring liquid (a water-based, anti-freeze solution) connected to 64 forced-air heat pumps to cool and heat the store. The system also includes five hot-water heat pumps to provide potable hot water needed for the store’s lavatory and restaurant operations.
“Tapping into geothermal technology is another way IKEA can maintain our commitment to sustainable building practices whenever feasible,” said Rob Parsons, IKEA Merriam store manager. “It also represents the values of the many Kansas City-area customers who are excited for us to open and complements our recent plans for solar panels atop the store.”
IKEA Merriam will be the second U.S. IKEA store with geothermal. (Denver-area IKEA Centennial opened with geothermal in 2011.) Utilizing geothermal and solar will significantly reduce the energy IKEA Merriam will draw from the power grid, consistent with the IKEA goal of being energy independent by 2020. IKEA also has installed 550,000 rooftop solar panels worldwide and owns more than 150 wind turbines in Europe and Canada, with 49 more being built in the U.S., and has geothermal systems at approximately 50 locations. This project was designed by Colorado-based Major Geothermal, a leading integrator of geothermal technology.
IKEA, drawing from its Swedish heritage and respect of nature, believes it can be a good business while doing good business and aims to minimize impacts on the environment. 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. Specific U.S. sustainable efforts include: recycling waste material; incorporating environmental measures into the actual buildings with energy-efficient HVAC and lighting systems, recycled construction materials, skylights in warehouse areas, and water-conserving restrooms; and operationally, eliminating plastic bags from the check-out process, phasing-out the sale of incandescent light bulbs, facilitating recycling of customers’ compact fluorescent bulbs, and by 2016 selling only L.E.D. bulbs. IKEA also has installed electric vehicle charging stations at 13 stores, with roll-out planned for more locations.
Under construction on 19 acres along the eastern side of Interstate-35 and Johnson Drive, the 359,000 square-foot future IKEA Merriam and 1,200 parking spaces will be built in the city of Merriam, KS, eight miles southwest of Kansas City, Missouri. Having created more than 500 construction jobs, the store will welcome 300 new coworkers into the IKEA family, and generate significant tax revenue for local governments and schools.
Since its 1943 founding in Sweden, IKEA has offered home furnishings of good design and function at low prices so the majority of people can afford them. There are currently more than 350 IKEA stores in 44 countries, including 38 in the U.S. IKEA incorporates sustainability into day-to-day business and supports initiatives that benefit children and the environment.