Eco-friendly features at Edmonds PCC | PCC Natural Markets

Eco-friendly features at Edmonds PCC

rain garden
A state-of-the-art rain garden in the middle of the store parking lot is a practical and beautiful way to capture and clean water run-off. Soundslide of eco-features with George Ostrow of Velocipede Architects »
Photo by Janice Parker, PCC Natural Markets

Edmonds PCC creates an enjoyable shopping experience right from the get-go.

Two beautifully planted rain gardens in the parking lot, and natural lighting throughout the store, are just the beginning. The Edmonds PCC was designed to meet energy efficiency and systems performance standards for LEEDŽ Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

From initial design, throughout construction, and in operating the store, the priority given to environmentally responsible procedures and features that maximize resource efficiency and minimize waste, are intended to offer a thoroughly pleasant atmosphere in which to shop.

Skylights at the Edmonds PCC store.
Thirty-five skylights throughout the store provide natural lighting. Special glazing allows 65 percent of visible light to enter while simultaneously blocking 64 percent of the sun's heat.
Photo by Velocipede Architects

Energy efficiency


  • Thirty-five skylights throughout the store provide natural
    lighting. Special glazing allows 65 percent of visible light to enter while simultaneously blocking 64 percent of the sun's heat.

Efficient lighting

  • A combination of fluorescent and ceramic metal halide lighting was used to achieve full spectrum lighting. General lighting is only 0.7 watts per square foot, which is 24 percent lower than the already low Washington State Energy Code. Accent lighting is only 0.4 watts per square foot, which is 33 percent lower than code.
  • Lighting wattage is further reduced through the use of daylight sensors that turn off general lighting in the sales area when adequate sunlight makes supplemental lighting unnecessary.
  • LED (light emitting diode) lights are used in the dairy and freezer doors. They require about one-fourth of the electricity of fluorescent lights, produce less heat than incandescent bulbs, and last far longer.
  • Timers turn off the accent lighting in the sales area when the store is closed.

Efficient systems

  • The space heating, hot water heating, and refrigeration systems are all interconnected by the same refrigerant loop, so that waste heat from the refrigeration system is utilized by the other functions.
  • The major exhaust hoods above the stovetops only operate when they detect smoke or steam, instead of continuously operating.
  • The combined annual savings from all the energy measures taken is expected to be 50 percent better than industry standards, as predicted by a DOE2 (Department of Energy 2) computer simulation.
  • A commissioning agent assured us that all systems were operating optimally at installation; all systems will receive tune-ups as needed so they continue to efficiently operate over the store's lifetime.
  • Energy efficient appliances: As many Energy Star-rated appliances as possible are in use throughout the store. This means that they meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Department of Energy.
  • All energy consuming systems have sensors that measure actual usage as the store operates.

Waste management

Reduced materials

  • Before construction began, 109 tons of wood, metal and drywall were removed from the site.
  • Of the materials removed from the building, 97 percent — 106 tons — were recycled. Two truckloads of clean insulation were sent to the United Way of Chehalis, Wash. for use in rebuilding homes and businesses destroyed by flooding in late December 2007.
  • Most of the store flooring is made of ceramic tiles or concrete slabs on grade, eliminating the waxing and stripping maintenance of typical sheet flooring for the life of the store.
  • A sizable amount of floor space has been devoted to the bulk water area to emphasize this safer and more sustainable option to plastic water bottles.

Reused materials

  • The structural ceiling deck in the sales area is the finished ceiling, eliminating the need to use finish ceiling material.
  • The cookies we bake are mixed and formed by equipment formerly used by Cougar Mountain Cookie Co., a local and longtime PCC vendor.
Wall tiles handmade from 100 percent recycled glass are used in the deli, bakery and bathrooms.
Photo by Janice Parker, PCC Natural Markets

Recycled materials

  • Custom-built cabinets are comprised of panels made from Skyblend™, a 100 percent recycled fiber.
  • PaperStone™ countertops in the deli are made from 60 percent recycled paper and environmentally-friendly water-based resins.
  • Restroom countertops were manufactured by Seattle-based NovuStone™, made from 100 percent recycled glass.
  • Classroom tables are made from renewable bamboo plywood.
  • Wall tiles handmade from 100 percent recycled glass are used throughout the store.
  • Plumbing and refrigeration piping are made from 100 percent recycled copper.
  • All plastic, film and cardboard are recycled; all food waste is composted.
  • Atmos™ chairs in the classroom feature webbing made from surplus stocks of automotive seat belt webbing. Wood used for the chair frames is European Beech, sustainably sourced from FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified forests, and finishes are water-based.

Low toxicity

Improved air quality

  • The contractors followed a LEEDŽ Construction Indoor Air Quality Plan. As a result there was minimal dust, leading to improved builder health during construction.
  • Following construction, the store was continuously flushed with fresh air for 88 hours, to provide clean air for customers.
  • The mechanical systems provide positively pressurized, filtered fresh air to the store year-round.
  • The interior wall paint contains no formaldehyde (a carcinogen), and has very low VOCs. Low VOC paint was also used on the exterior walls, in three natural-brown shades memorably named James Brown, Wildwood and Woodpecker.
  • All building products that entered the store, from insulation to caulk, were screened for low VOCs to virtually eliminate the introduction of harmful chemicals into the interior air.


  • Two state-of-the-art rain gardens are located in front of the store. One is in the center of the parking lot and the other in the southwest corner. Water run-off containing oil and sediments from the parking areas are filtered through the rain gardens' plants, amended soil and beach pebble layers. A variety of hardy plants also attract birds, bees and butterflies to the rain gardens including the flowering Goatsbeard, Pacific Coast Iris and Wild Ginger, Cinnamon and Sword Ferns, Purple Blow Maple, and Umbrella Plant.
  • A rainwater collection system incorporates the entire store roof, an adjacent 4,500-gallon tank, and a simple system of water pipes and filters. A pressure pump pulls rainwater stored in the tank through a series of increasingly finer filters, delivering water as needed to flush the store's low-flow toilets and to irrigate landscaping around the parking lot.
  • The store's new TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin) roof is a continuous membrane of waterproof material heat-welded to the surface. Its white, reflective surface makes the roof naturally resistant to heat and ultraviolet light, lowering cooling costs often incurred with conventional roofing materials.
  • All the linear fluorescent lamps are Philips ALTO (indicated by a green ring at each end) which contain 80 percent less mercury (necessary for starting the lamps) than standard fluorescent lamps.
  • The refrigerant used for the equipment is R-404a, a zero ozone-depleting blend that contains no CFCs.
  • All the lumber and plywood used in the store are certified as sustainably harvested by the Forest Stewardship Council.

Locally sourced materials

Where possible, materials and appliances used to build and furnish the store were locally sourced, including:

  • A pizza oven from Bellingham, Wash.
  • A restroom countertop from Seattle-based NovuStone.
  • Recycled glass wall tiles from Bedrock Industries, Seattle, Wash.

The combined annual savings from all the
energy measures taken during construction
are expected to be 50 percent better than industry standards

as predicted by a DOE2 (Department of Energy 2) computer simulation.

More about: LEED certified, sustainability

Related Content

We’re in the spotlight!

Our Edmonds store caught the eye of the Snohomish County Public Utility District, which named us its latest Conservation Sensation in the following video.


Click to play video

What is LEED Certification?

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a voluntary rating system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Credits are earned for using advanced industry technology and achieving environmental performance.

Edmonds PCC Salmon Safe Certified

PCC was the first Washington retailer to support Salmon-Safe certification of farms and wineries, and in October 2010, we became the first Washington retailer to earn this distinction — for our Edmonds store.

The Salmon Safe seal ensures that practices are in place to protect waterways and allow native salmon to spawn and thrive.

At Edmonds PCC, we harvest rainwater from the roof for landscape irrigation and to flush toilets in the store, redirecting about 160,000 gallons of water away from the stormwater system.

Our rain gardens redirect an additional 1 million gallons of water from the parking lot. They collect and filter runoff through plants and soil amendments before letting it flow through the storm sewers to Puget Sound — much cleaner than it was in the parking lot! Storm drains have “witch hat” filters to catch debris.

PCC also does not allow pesticides found harmful to salmon.

Learn about Salmon-Safe and PCC.