For the most part, this is a relatively easy question to answer: buildings that are fully regenerative, i.e., buildings that are powered by the sun (inclusive of wind and water), made from infinitely renewable resources, that regenerate our ecology and support the health of our society.
The answer lies in taking small and rapid iterative steps that can be measured. Doing so requires thinking of each project as a research lab, both in terms of construction and operations.
Enter the Starbucks Greener Store Lab in Shanghai.
Inspired by the City of Shanghai and its innovative waste management goals, the Shanghai Greener Store serves as a lab focused on circularity i.e., the elimination of waste in both store construction and operations.
For design & construction, the project team set an initial goal of ensuring that around 50% of the building materials could be recycled or biodegraded at the end of the store's life - preparing for a day in which the interiors of the store will be dismantled and refurbished.
Working with the RESET Materials Standard as the framework for quantification and auditing, the project team was able to achieve the goal. Circularity strategies included the creation of a Modular Bar and back-of-house system that can be easily dismantled and reassembled, enabling future reuse and recycling.
For operations, the project team conducted in depth waste audits within current Reserve Stores to quantify the success rate of the existing waste sorting program. The audits also identified opportunities to optimize results via design, by guiding users to better separate waste into organics (compostable), recyclables and residuals. Having just opened, the Greener Store Lab will be working with the RESET Circularity Standard to quantify and audit results.
The store features a slew of other circularity initiatives inclusive of a ‘Circular Lifestyle Lab’ curating sustainability-themed exhibitions from local artists. The launch of affordable reusable cups empowers customers to easily engage in the growing culture of reuse. Meanwhile, the iconic Starbucks green aprons are being made from recycled PET bottles using advanced plastic-to-textile technologies.
The reuse of materials in new construction significantly reduces the amount of carbon normally produced by the creation of new materials.
For operations, the store utilizes smart Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to better manage air conditioning and lighting, reducing carbon emissions from operations by around 15% compared to a regular Starbucks store of the same size. The store is also the first Starbucks on the Chinese mainland to be powered by renewable energy purchased through a nationally certified platform. Additionally, over half of the store menu is plant-based, including the debut of 15 new food items and the replacement of dairy with oatmilk as the standard offering for most beverages.
Shanghai often serves as a testing ground for landmark initiatives from Starbucks. The Shanghai Reserve Roastery was Starbucks largest store in the world at the time of construction and a global first in terms of achieving RESET Air certification for a retail store. The Roastery also served as an early pilot for the RESET Materials Standard, setting the stage for the Greener Stores Lab.
By treating landmark projects as learning labs, Starbucks is able to combine best-practice from past projects with in-depth research into high impact areas such as circularity and carbon. As a result, the Shanghai Greener Store Lab is not only the first store in China to be certified under the Greener Stores program, but also the RESET Materials Standard for Circularity.
RESET Materials is a data-driven standard for evaluating the health, safety, and ecological performance of building materials and products in projects. It is the world’s first standard, built from the ground-up to leverage cloud software and its ability to rapidly score both products and projects.
Learn more about RESET Materials: https://reset.build/standard/materials