Cityscape

Ikea’s new Merriam store will feature a geothermal heating and cooling system

Updated: 2013-09-18T03:05:31Z

By JOYCE SMITH

The Kansas City Star

Ikea’s new Merriam store will be right in line with the Swedish retailer’s reputation for environmentally friendly designs.

Ikea, the world’s leading home furnishings retailer, on Tuesday announced plans to incorporate geothermal technology into the store’s heating and cooling system. The company said the Merriam project will be the largest of its kind in Kansas or Missouri.

Ikea’s Denver area store, which opened in 2011, is the retailer’s only other U.S. store using geothermal technology.

“Using geothermal in our Kansas City area store reflects our commitment to sustainable building practices whenever feasible,” said Mike Ward, Ikea USA president, in a statement.

The 359,000-square-foot Ikea store, with 1,200 parking spaces, is being built on the eastern side of Interstate 35 and Johnson Drive. The store, which will have about 300 employees, is expected to open in fall 2014.

Ikea’s Merriam store, its first in the area, is a $70.3 million project. The company did not break out the cost of the geothermal heating and cooling system.

“It adds multimillions, but it will save us multimillions,” said Ikea spokesman Joseph Roth.

The closed-loop ground source heat pump system involves drilling 180 boreholes, 6 inches in diameter and 600 feet deep, into the ground across part of the 19-acre Ikea parcel in Merriam. None of the boreholes will be drilled directly under the store’s footprint, Roth said.

Pipes placed into the boreholes will form an underground network of loops for circulating 36,000 gallons of heat-transferring liquid (a water-based antifreeze solution) connected to 64 forced-air heat pumps to cool and heat the store.

The system also includes five hot-water heat pumps to provide potable hot water needed for the store’s lavatory and restaurant operations.

Related drilling and underground work should be completed by winter.

Ikea’s goal is to be “energy independent” by 2020.

Its U.S. sustainable efforts include recycling waste material; incorporating key measures into buildings with energy-efficient HVAC and lighting systems, recycled construction materials, warehouse skylights and water-conserving restrooms; and eliminating plastic bags from checkout and phasing out the sale of incandescent light bulbs.

Ikea USA also is installing electric vehicle charging stations at 17 locations and has solar arrays atop 90 percent of its locations. The Merriam store also is being evaluated for solar potential.

To reach Joyce Smith, call 816-234-4692 or send email to jsmith@kcstar.com. Follow her at Twitter.com/joycekc and on Facebook.

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