More Sustainable Store IKEA Kaarst: The most sustainable IKEA furniture store in the world

It was meant to be sustainable and green – the new location for IKEA’s first pilot store in the world focussing on sustainability. The company found what they were looking for in Kaarst and built its More Sustainable Store here. With this project, the Swedish company has demonstrated what is possible in terms of sustainable construction and climate-friendly district development, setting new standards for commercial buildings throughout North Rhine-Westphalia and beyond its borders.

Kaarst is making a name for itself with IKEA: until recently, the smallest IKEA furniture store in Germany was located here; the new premises, however, are not only three times bigger, now covering an area of 25,000 square metres, but the new IKEA in Kaarst is also the most sustainable IKEA store in the world. The previous store in Düsselstrasse has closed and the staff along with 80 new colleagues now work in the new More Sustainable Store on Hans-Dietrich-Genscher-Strasse. The commercial space freed up at the old site has been taken over by the municipality of Kaarst.

Engine for progress:

  • The most sustainable IKEA furniture store in the world
  • All the measures implemented are based on a modular system and can be transferred to other furniture stores
  • 80 more jobs created
  • Networking with local people involved in climate protection

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Photo: IKEA/A. Grohe

From October 2017, IKEA customers can go shopping in the most sustainable IKEA furniture store in the world in Kaarst and they can also spend their free time there. The new premises include a range of measures that deal with and make improvements in areas of ecological, social and economic concern.

Module-based system with sustainable solutions

The design of the new store is based on the company’s sustainability strategy: IKEA has set itself the goal of becoming energy self-sufficient by 2020 and the flagship store in Kaarst is contributing towards achieving this goal through the various eco-friendly measures it has implemented. All the individual measures, similar to a module-based system, can easily be transferred to other furniture stores. For example, the furniture store has a comprehensive waste sorting system, which separates waste into 20 different categories in order to achieve the challenging 100 per cent quota for sorting waste materials. The rainwater collected on the roof is used in the sanitary facilities; the waste water from the hand basins is cleaned and re-used to flush the toilets. The company is also working on the More Sustainable Store’s energy efficiency: solar collectors covering a total area of 40 square metres have been installed to provide a solar thermal plant. Using a cogeneration unit and a photovoltaic installation around 4,000 square metres in size, the furniture store generates half of the energy it uses itself and it buys green electricity to cover its remaining needs. This means that the store reduces carbon emissions by a total of up to 700 tonnes per year.

Optimal utilisation of daylight and transport links

The store in Kaarst was built with more windows than usual in order to optimise the use of daylight – the remaining light that is needed is provided by LED lighting. The construction materials were selected according to sustainability criteria, such as their effect on the indoor environment, the process used to produce them, their lifespan or their potential for subsequent use. With its charging stations for electric cars running on green electricity, a shuttle bus service between the local train station and the store and a connection to the international cycle path network, the More Sustainable Store is showing the way forward in many ways in terms of a future, more sustainable design concept, which can also be applied to other commercial buildings.

Networking local initiatives

The new furniture store also serves as a meeting place for the citizens of Kaarst: the open air spaces and parts of the building itself are planted with vegetation. The Outdoor Plaza situated on the forecourt is equipped with play, sports and barbecue areas and can be used by citizens even after the store has closed. A building that already existed on the site now houses social projects such as a repair café, run by a senior citizens’ club, a professional standard rehearsal room for bands and an art studio is also included.

Photo: Inter IKEA Systems B.V. 2017

With our More Sustainable Store in Kaarst, we have achieved a balance between the key cornerstones of ecology, economy and social considerations. We have been able to approach the project in an unconventional way and turn a lot of the things that set us apart upside down. A new concept has evolved from this, a small revolution in the world of IKEA. Nowhere else do we have such a unique architectural design and nowhere else have we considered people‘s needs so intensively in order to promote the issue of sustainability on a wide scale.

Johannes Ferber, Managing Director of IKEA Verwaltungs-GmbH (IKEA Administration)

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