Gas stations rarely call to mind environmentally friendly practices, let alone green architecture, but top-rated convenience-store chain Kum & Go has built between 20 and 40 LEED-certified stores per year for the past three years. With 66 total certified stores—34 Silver and seven Gold—Kum & Go boasts the highest number in its industry, and it has 15 new LEED stores under construction.
How does the gas station and convenience store provider manage to build such a high volume to such high standards? The LEED Volume program. Kum & Go joined LEED Volume in 2013, and it is the only gas station provider participating in the program, which helps streamline the certification process for companies with multiple buildings of a similar style and scale, such as national banks or chain restaurants. “We worked for over two years with the USGBC to certify not only all of our documents for our design and construction process, but the training and quality-control checklists for all of our partners, and that’s really helped,” says Adam Hammes, manager of sustainability for Kum & Go.
Before officially joining the program, Kum & Go was already obtaining LEED certifications for its locations with an efficient model and process. The company’s start-to-finish construction benchmark is between 110 and 120 days. “Our construction department has always been very process-oriented,” Hammes says. “We develop a lot of quality control and use lean management tools to map out processes and work closely with our partners to keep improving timing and how we overlap the different vendors on our sites.” Although making the changes necessary to meet LEED standards did add time and paperwork, Hammes says the company used the process to improve its operations.
Even with efficient procedures in place, Hammes says that Kum & Go is constantly looking for new ways to become even more environmentally sustainable. Solar panels, for instance, historically have been too heavy for the average service-station canopy. So Kum & Go re-engineered its design. It extended the canopy, added reinforced steel, and included stronger footings. Its New Castle, Colorado, location, was the first to receive the upgrade; topping its canopy is a solar array that provides 6 to 7 percent of the store’s energy requirements.
Kum & Go now requires reinforced footings and steel on all new stores and adds extra conduit from the parking lot to the canopy. “That way, we don’t have to do that work in the future when solar is more cost effective,” Hammes says. “We continue to improve and seek changes we can implement in the prototype that will institutionalize sustainability.”
A Message from SystemWorks
SystemWorks is a true third-party commissioning firm. Our focus is being the owner’s advocate. Our staff is collaborative and brings a “can do” attitude to every project. As the commissioning agent on more than 45 of Kum & Go’s LEED-certified stores, SystemWorks values its long-term relationships with owners, architects, engineers, and contractors.
A Message from Seneca Companies
For more than 40 years, Seneca Companies has grown to be an industry leader in petroleum design, construction, service, and comprehensive containment and dispensing solutions. Our factory-trained and experienced team has the skill set and professionalism to handle all aspects of your new fueling site, remodel project, service upgrade, or parts order.