PCC Community Markets (PCC), Seattle, Wash., is said to be the first grocery store in the world to pursue Living Building Challenge (LBC) Petal Certification. Run by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI), Seattle, Wash., the LBC certification is dubbed as the world’s most rigorous green building standard.

“We set high standards for the food we allow on our shelves, and we believe that our stores should be held to equally high standards,” says Brenna Davis, vice president of social and environmental responsibility for PCC. “In partnership with the International Living Future Institute, we are reimagining how grocery stores are built — using less water and energy, designing refrigeration systems that have a reduced climate impact, utilizing building materials that protect human health and creating spaces that nurture a deeper sense of connection to the environment and our community.”

The LBC is organized into seven performance areas—place, water, energy, health and happiness, materials, equity and beauty. PCC will pursue three of the seven Petals across its five new stores—Ballard and West Seattle, Wash., opening later this year, and Bellevue, Downtown Seattle and Madison Valley, Wash., opening in 2020.

The LBC certification standards will come to life in future PCC stores in the following ways:

  • Energy-efficient lighting, heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration equipment;
  • Reclaimed materials, like wood for décor or tables;
  • Building materials and finishes that avoid chemicals with the greatest impact to human and ecosystem health;
  • Sustainable refrigeration systems that utilize refrigerants with a lower climate impact;
  • Electric vehicle charging stations;
  • Bicycle storage and shower facilities for staff;
  • Habitat Exchange offset through the ILFI Living Future Habitat Exchange; and
  • Public art and design features with the intent to bring joy and a celebration of culture into the space.

PCC also announced that Burien PCC, Burien, Wash., which opened in May 2018, is said to be the first grocery store in the United States to be certified under the new Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) v4 program for exceptional design, construction and operation of a “green” building. Redmond PCC, Redmond, Wash., was said to be the first grocery store in the United States to receive LEED Gold Certification when it opened in 2006.