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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.

Energy reduction initiatives for a greener future

An energy reduction audit at our Coppell, TX fulfillment center revealed annual energy savings of 26% and a cost savings of 32%. Meanwhile, an audit of our Lincolnshire, IL facility has already yielded more than 20% energy savings (700,000 kWh) over 9 months.

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. This program actively engages associates with an energy savings ideas contest, posters and rallies with energy team members. In 2013, we performed 18 energy audits in our North American stores and distribution facilities.

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. To date, 14.5 MW of solar installations have generated more than 75 million kWh of clean energy for Staples facilities since the start of the program.
  • Staples continues to expand our commitment to purchasing green power. In 2013, Staples U.S. increased our green power purchases to cover 100% of our U.S. electricity needs.
  • 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” 2013 report, including being ranked #6 in the retail sector.

Improving our fleet's environmental performance

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

Staples is speeding ahead to improve our sustainable delivery practices. We electronically limit the top speed of our U.S. delivery trucks to 60 miles per hour and use idle management technologies to shut off engines after three minutes of idle time. Staples also has 53 electric trucks making deliveries to our customers in several markets. Electric trucks produce zero on-road emissions and significantly fewer total emissions when compared to diesel trucks. In addition, we continue to test new alternative truck technologies, like hybrids, CNG and advanced idle reduction. These and other initiatives have allowed us to improve our long-term fuel economy trend.

Reducing our energy consumption and carbon emissions

In 2013, Staples received the Pinnacle Award for Excellence in Commuter Options

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 2013, Staples reduced our U.S. and global electrical intensity by 3.2% 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 good 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

globally (metric tons CO2-e)

carbon emissions

Our investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy have helped us reduce our global carbon emissions footprint. In 2013, we were able to offset all of our emissions related to U.S. electricity through a commitment to purchase renewable energy certificates. As a result, our global carbon emissions have decreased by approximately 60% since 2010. See our Performance Summary for specific emissions information.

We recognize that we have achieved our goal as originally stated, and will consider updating the goal in the future if we continue to demonstrate these same consistently high emissions reductions.


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.
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