Apple unveils nature-filled, solar-powered future for its retail stores worldwide.

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Apple has been committed to pursuing energy-efficient growth, by increasing resources in renewable energy projects and ventures. They have been committed to reducing their carbon footprint, by using 99% recycled materials for all paper sourced packaging, and have even gone so far as to purchase their own land acreage to create a renewable forest so they can accomplish this. Apple’s aim is to “achieve a net-zero impact on the world’s supply of sustainable virgin fiber.¨ – or, in other words , it wants to achieve 100% of it´s paper packaging from recycled and renewable sources. Another goal Apple has, it to completely power its supply chains with renewable energy. Presently, Apple powers 87% of its facilities with renewable resources.

Apple has recently just unveiled a new store in San Francisco which will be powered by 100% renewable energy. This is an incredible feat, as it requires power to come from numerous renewable resources such as wind, solar, biogas, hydropower, and geothermal. Designed by UK design firm Foster + Partners and Apple´s Industrial Design Team, the new store has been designed with nature in mind. The nature-filled, solar-powered store will feature environmental spaces where one can relax, attend meetings, or merely enjoy the free wi-fi, courtesy of Apple. A focus on nature and nature-themed elements can be seen throughout the store. Tree-filled planters created by Fosters and Apple’s industrial design team double as seating for customers. The Genius Bar is even dubbed the ¨Genius Grove.¨

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The new Apple store will include a public square called The Plaza, which has free wi-fi and seating. The Plaza has a 50 foot (15 metre) green wall, and will be used as a space for acoustic performances. Behind the green wall lies an area dedicated to business meetings. “We have a deep commitment to the cities we work in, and are aware of the importance that architecture plays in the community,” said Apple chief design officer Jonathan Ive. Apple uses retail outlets and molds them to fit the urban landscape, in a way that showcases their forward-thinking design. They consider the retail store to be the largest product they have ever created, and are focusing on the physical spaces we spend time in.

The store itself is powered by 100 percent renewable energy, including power produced by photovoltaic panels integrated into the roof. Apple plans to roll out these changes internationally to all of their supply stores, and are just getting started. While Apple used to be very lax and laggard when it came to sustainability practices, they turned a new leaf in 2007 when Steve Jobs promised more transparency regarding the companies environmental practices, and promised a deeper commitment to sustainable practices. Once considered laggard, they can now be seen as leaders on the environmental front.

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