PCC introduces earth friendly features at Edmonds store

  • By Philip Pirwitz Enterprise reporter
  • Thursday, August 28, 2008 2:12pm

Most impressive about the new PCC Market location in the Westgate neighborhood of Edmonds is what you would not consider twice – water and light.

Built using 95 percent of the construction materials from the Albertsons that previously occupied the space and a multitude of newly recycled materials, the new PCC Market will push the boundaries of how ecologically friendly a building can get when it opens up on Sept. 3.

Features of the new building include a rainwater trap on the roof, which collects up to 160,000 gallons of rainwater for use in the store toilets and urinals, and the rain garden in the parking lot, which filters out dirt and other sediment before the drainage makes its way out to Puget Sound.

“With each new store, we take everything we’ve learned from previous stores and add one new thing,” said George Ostrow of Velocipede Architects, who has worked on PCC Market stores for the last 15 years. The Edmonds location is the ninth in Puget Sound.

“The rainwater system is completely new,” said Lori Ross, director of store development. “It’s the most comprehensive system of its kind,” and will have applications at other PCC stores soon.

Everything from the easy-to-clean tile floor to the LED lighting in the freezers – which use half the power of fluorescent – to the 33 added skylights have been included to reduce the amount of waste created by running the store and produce a better environment in which to sell natural and organic products, which they believe is a great fit with Edmonds’ eco-friendly attitude. Even the receipts print double-sided to save paper.

“It’s great dealing with a company that has a conscience as far as food production and consumption goes,” said store director Matt Smith. Smith has managed PCC Markets in West Seattle and Seward Park prior to Edmonds.

Even during its construction period, separate compost and recycling bins were accessible for items that need not be thrown away – a procedure that will continue on every day of operation.

“We’re trying to [create this center] with the least amount of energy,” said Ostrow. “Other stores throw as much power as they want at something with the same effect.”

Diana Crane, director of sustainability for PCC, believed that the Edmonds location is on track for a platinum certification of Leadership, Energy, and Environmental Design from the U.S. Green Building Council, which awards stores for environmentally responsible procedures and features that maximize resource efficiency and minimize waste. The Redmond PCC, which opened in 2006, was the first grocery to receive a LEED gold certification.

The ecologically friendly features of the building are not only a way to reduce energy and waste, but they also provide a better environment for the organic foods housed and sold there.

“When any product is brought to our door, we do anything to maintain the integrity of the product,” said Crane.

Not only will local produce, meats and other products be featured alongside fresh-baked goods and fair-trade, organic, shade grown coffee, but cooking classes will be held and information distributed about natural foods.

“We’re is not just about selling food but teaching about food,” said Crane, who mentioned that classes about cooking and wellness will be available for all ages.

It’s all part of a plan to give local Edmonds shoppers eager for an organic outlet the chance to learn about a more natural diet and a less wasteful lifestyle.

“Everybody’s hearing about global environmental problems,” said Ostrow. “We can do something.”

The Edmonds PCC Market will open at 9 a.m. on Sept. 3 with a ceremonial ribbon cutting by Edmonds Mayor Gary Haakenson.

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