While Apple has made great gains in the environmental friendliness of its products, manufacturing and facilities, the U.S. Green Building Council (GBC), a "non-profit community of leaders working to make green buildings available to everyone within a generation," has identified its retail stores as ripe for improvement. Apple earned the group's low "certified" ranking, but it wasn't due to poor design or implementation.
The group's tool is the Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design, or LEED standard, which measures a building's performance across five aspects of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. Unfortunately, Apple's stores failed to qualify for certain points, contributing to its low ranking. For example:
- Sustainable sites: Apple won points for for site selection and density, but was unable to earn points for protecting habitats since Apple Stores don't include a lawn, yard or other landscaping.
- Water efficiency: Again, Apple loses out on possible points towards innovative wastewater technology as its stores lack any significant landscaping.
Elsewhere in the test, Apple scored well in indoor environmental quality (its most compliant category) and poorly in the materials and resources and innovation and design process categories.
You'll find more information on the LEED for retail standard here. Congratulations to Apple for receiving certification; hopefully there will be opportunities to gain a higher ranking next time.