Super-green (and small!) Starbucks opens for business in Colorado

The iconic coffee company proves its devotion to the environment with a new experimental shop that is LEED-certified and made with local materials.

Starbucks is the biggest mainstream coffee franchise in the United States, making it less appealing to self-proclaimed "hipsters" all about going against mainstream culture. Hemp-wearing environmental advocates have to scour the nooks and crannies of cities to find a different coffee joint worthy of hipsterdom. Well, in most cities, that is.

But when you're in a state as environmentally conscious as Colorado, think again. Without sacrificing the taste of coffee, this new Starbucks location is small, environmentally friendly, and, well, small. 

So small, in fact, that customers are not welcome inside the cramped space. The building does have an entrance, just not for you. And it does have windows, just not for you to look out of. Only for you to look into. Because this Starbucks is one of the drive-thru, walk-up sort where taste is preserved, atmosphere is not. 

The 500-square-foot building is just one of several ways Starbucks proves its legitimacy as an environmentally-friendly company. The building is LEED-certified, meaning it is a certified green building--no unnecessary power outlets, faucets or lights for your customers. What a waste of electricity that would be. 

Nope. You can drive around and past the building all you want, but enter you may not. Go study elsewhere. Find a new spot to have conversation. 

The outside of the building, which you can see and experience, reuses snow fencing from Wyoming. In fact, all the materials that built this Starbucks came from within 500 miles of its location to reduce its carbon footprint. 

The new prefabricated Starbucks, which is located in Denver, CO, is a product of the company's Shared Planet Initiative, which supports small-scale coffee farmers and minimizes the company's environmental footprint. Its LEED-certified stores recycle all cardboard and milk cartons, provide environmental education messages in-store and save water by using water efficient fixtures and equipment. 

So, yes. It's a wonderful thing for the environment, but … need to use the restroom? Try stopping at the Shell gas station behind the green Starbucks. And fill your gas tank up while you're at it. 


Click here to see photos of the Starbucks at FastCoDesign.


Image: imacgyv0r/Flickr

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