Target’s recently opened store in San Rafael, Calif., is special for a lot of reasons. It’s located on the San Francisco Bay with an impressive view of the city skyline and Mount Tamalpais, a local landmark. But we’re especially proud to call it one of our most environmentally responsible buildings, and our first to earn the United States Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification.

In 2005, when Target teams were first exploring the possibility of building a new Target in San Rafael, they learned that the city’s green building ordinance requires all new buildings to earn LEED certification, the design and construction industry’s primary green building rating system.

“We knew it would be a challenge to achieve, especially in a suburban location,” says Ed Doyle, lead program manager, Sustainability, Property Development (PD), Minneapolis. “But we also knew the site was ultimately a great choice for our guests, and we love a good challenge. Although LEED Gold would be a stretch for the team, we recognized that it aligned very well with our focus on smart development, and would help Target showcase our commitment to the environment.”

The store is built on brownfield land, at the site of a former landfill, requiring nearly twenty years of cleanup before it could be developed.

As construction began on the new store, our teams factored in decisions based on environmental impact at every stage. For example, the work was specially staged and scheduled to avoid interfering with the habitat and breeding season of native wildlife. The building’s orientation and the addition of an outdoor seating and dining area were designed to connect with and complement the bay and other natural surroundings.

During construction, PD teams minimized waste and used responsible materials whenever possible. Recycled content made up more than 26 percent of the building materials, 41 percent of those materials were regionally manufactured, and all wood used was FSC Certified from responsibly managed forests. The teams also designed concrete piles to accommodate the varying bedrock depth at the site, and the excess pile sections were broken up and reused as breakwater material. Overall, 83 percent of all construction waste was recycled and diverted from landfills.

Inside and out, the new building features innovations that help save energy. About 22 percent of the store’s electrical energy comes from a roof-mounted photovoltaic system, while 35 percent of its purchased electrical energy comes from renewable resources such as wind power. The store also uses 62 percent less water than a typical LEED baseline building through innovative strategies such as very low-flow water closets and urinals coupled with a highly efficient vacuum waste system.

“Energy use at the San Rafael Target store is 26 percent less than standard usage at retail stores meeting building code energy efficiency requirements,” says Scott Williams, engineering group manager, PD, Minneapolis. “Those energy savings are enough to serve the needs of 60 typical homes in the local community.”

The new store also includes several features that make it easier for our team members and guests to reach it using more efficient transportation methods. For example, Target teams successfully lobbied for a new bus shelter adjacent to the store to promote the use of public transit. For cyclists, 30 bike lockers and spaces were installed near the entrance in an area protected from the elements, and our team members are offered discounts on bike purchases and transit passes.

In addition, a connection was built to the nearby shoreline walking trail, along with interpretive signage highlighting the natural habitat. Dedicated spaces were added in the parking lots for pedestrian access to the San Francisco Bay Trail, connected to more than 300 miles of trails. There are also 17 electrical vehicle charging stations to promote the use of alternative fuel-source vehicles.

“When I see the finished building, I’m most proud of how well the store design and the environmental features are integrated with the site,” says Ed. “Not only is the store one of our most environmentally responsible, it’s a beautiful store that will serve the community well for decades to come. Plus, the feedback from our guests and  the city has been fantastic.”

Visit the Smart Development page to learn more about Target’s commitment to creating buildings that use space efficiently, improve connectivity for guests and team members, and enhance local communities.

Interested in joining Target’s Property Development team? Explore career opportunities at Target.

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