Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI), the national outdoor clothing and gear retail chain, has opened a new green prototype store. The 42,000 sq. ft. Boulder store is designed to use 20% less energy than comparable stores and employs aggressive daylight harvesting systems as well as a photovoltaic glass atrium skylight that lets in sunlight while also capturing the sun’s energy to power a portion of the store.

“REI’s Boulder store builds on our more than 10 years of green building experience, and helps us test concepts that will pave the way for how our stores are built in the future, including design, material selections and use of technology,” says Dean Iwata, REI’s director of store development.

The new store is part of the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED for Retail pilot program and is built to meet LEED-CI (commercial interiors) silver standards. The prototype, which was developed during a renovation and expansion, uses 30% less water than similar stores and meets 70% of the location’s hot water needs with solar energy. In addition, 58% of the construction waste was diverted from landfills to be used in some other capacity or recycled.

Other sustainable highlights include floors, perimeter walls, fixtures, displays, benches, and tabletops made of green materials such as bamboo, recycled rubber, and cork plus many locally sourced goods.

REI opened it flagship green retail store in Seattle in 1996. In 2004, REI’s Portland, Ore. location became the first retail store in the country to earn the LEED gold certification for commercial interiors. In 2006, its Pittsburgh store achieved LEED silver for commercial interiors.