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Renewable Energy & Efficiency

Staples’ energy management program is comprehensive, focusing on technological, behavioral and process-based solutions across our buildings and fleet. The goal is to advance energy reduction and the use of renewable and clean energy to reduce our carbon impact. We emphasize education and communication about our initiatives and actively engage our associates in our programs.

Driving efficiency through the ENERGY STAR® program


Staples has partnered with ENERGY STAR since 1999. A joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Energy, the ENERGY STAR program helps companies like Staples save money while protecting the environment through the use of energy-efficient practices and products.

Through aggressive goal setting; participation in the ENERGY STAR Battle of the Buildings and other initiatives, Staples is leading the charge for more sustainable and energy-efficient buildings.

By the end of 2014, we had 645 ENERGY STAR verified buildings, or more than 40% of our buildings.

Staples has received the honor of ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year for five consecutive years, and for the third year received the prestigious award of Sustained Excellence by the EPA, honoring our commitment to energy reduction for a better planet.

Energy reduction initiatives for a greener future

Our energy reduction program continues to save energy at all Staples distribution centers in North America, resulting in a 3% reduction in energy use and $1.5 million operating expense savings, annually.

As demonstrated by our increasing number of ENERGY STAR qualified buildings, Staples is committed to reducing energy consumption through our entire organization. Here are some of the measures we’ve taken:

  • Converting lighting to lower wattage and more efficient fixtures, lamps and ballasts
  • Putting in lighting motion sensors for occupancy and daylight harvesting
  • Installing energy management systems for the control of lighting and HVAC
  • Installing variable-speed drives on HVAC equipment, air compressors and conveyors
  • Participating in energy consumption demand response programs

We also run our energy audit program to identify energy reduction opportunities in our stores and distribution centers, focusing on lighting, battery chargers, conveyors, HVAC and our energy management system.

Using alternative sources of energy

While Staples’ energy reduction efforts are contributing substantially to reducing the company’s carbon footprint, we’re shrinking that footprint even further by producing our own solar power, using fuel cell technology and participating in the EPA’s Green Power Partnership.

  • Today, Staples has 34 facilities hosting a total of 37 solar arrays in the U.S., which generate more than 14.6 million kWh of clean energy annually.
  • In 2014, Staples purchased 3% of its U.S. electricity needs in the form of renewable energy certificates (RECs).
  • As an early adopter of fuel cell technology, we continue to operate fuel cells at our distribution centers in Ontario, CA, and Rialto, CA — in both cases, the fuel cells are complemented by solar power installations.
  • Staples is ranked as a top U.S. company in the “Solar Means Business” 2014 report, including being ranked #10 in the retail sector.

Improving our fleet's environmental performance

Staples is a Shipper Partner of EPA’s SmartWay program.

Staples has consistently worked to improve the sustainability of its delivery practices in multiple ways. Initiatives such as electronically limiting the top speed of our U.S. delivery trucks to 60 miles per hour, using idle management technologies to shut off engines after three minutes of idle time, and launching more than 50 electric trucks in our fleet have allowed Staples to improve our long-term fuel economy trend. Currently, Staples is in the process of transitioning its fleet to third-party delivery, with completion anticipated by the end of 2015. To the extent possible, we will partner with our new delivery partners to implement sustainability initiatives in final mile delivery.

Reducing our energy consumption and carbon emissions

Staples has been recognized for multiple years for offering and promoting sustainable commuter options, including the Leadership Award at the 2015 Excellence in Commuter Options Awards.


Through our proven energy efficiency programs and renewable energy commitments, we are demonstrating tangible progress against our goals to improve our energy efficiency and reduce our carbon emissions.

From 2010 to 2014, Staples reduced our global electrical intensity by 4.4% as a result of energy efficiency improvements. Our goal is to reduce the electrical intensity of our global operations by 25% by 2020 from a 2010 baseline. Although we are making progress, this goal will remain a challenge given that we are using more technology within our stores (increasing energy consumption) while also shrinking store size (decreasing square footage).

Electrical Intensity

globally (kWh/ft2)

electrical intensity

Carbon Emissions (after offsets)

globally (metric tons CO2-e)

carbon emissions

Previously, Staples’ commitment to purchasing renewable energy has allowed us to reduce our global carbon footprint over time. In the U.S., we increased our purchase of renewable energy certificates (RECs) from 25% of electricity needs in 2010 to 100% in 2013, effectively eliminating our Scope 2 carbon emissions. In 2014, Staples U.S. reprioritized spending on energy management programs to focus on energy efficiency improvements, and reduced its renewable energy purchase to 3%. Because our U.S. operations account for approximately 80% of our global carbon footprint, this reduction has negatively impacted progress against our goal to reduce after-offset global carbon emissions by 50% by 2020. That said, our gross carbon emissions (before accounting for RECs and offsets) are showing a decline since 2010, indicating positive results from our energy efficiency and reduction programs.

See our Performance Summary for specific emissions information.


Achieve zero carbon emissions in our operations and help customers pursue the same goal.

Focus Areas

Facilities, fleet and logistics energy efficiency and effectiveness.

Long-Term Goals

  • Achieve ENERGY STAR® building certification for 50% of our U.S. facilities by 2020.
  • Reduce electrical intensity globally by 25% from 2010 through 2020.
  • Reduce total carbon emissions by 50% globally from 2010 through 2020.

Energy engagement

We hold nine webinars monthly with managers and associates at Staples distribution facilities to share energy reduction ideas and information, and enable peer-to-peer learning

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