Editor's note: The following article appeared in the March 1 issue of Bicycle Retailer & Industry News.
By Alan Snel
LAS VEGAS, NV—When you walk into the new Las Vegas Cyclery store, the pleasing aesthetics of the building are striking.The 34-foot-tall ceiling with the wooden décor gives the bike shop an open, airy feel, reminiscent of a ski lodge. The nearly 10,000-square-foot retail space offers customers easy elbow room to check out the 500 bicycles, including a few that hang from the ceiling.
Mammoth color photographs showing everyday bicycle scenes hang from the wall. The second-level balcony offers community space for cyclists to swap stories and even enough room for local yoga classes.
But take a closer look at this bike shop and you will also see a retail store that’s a functioning model of ultra-green retailing and energy efficiency.
Las Vegas Cyclery owner Jared Fisher spent $2.8 million on creating what he believes is the only net-zero-energy bicycle store in the country. That is, his store produces more electricity per year than what it uses from the local power company, NV Energy. In fact, the store is engineered to produce 3 percent more power than what it is slated to consume from the energy company. NV Energy, which gave Las Vegas Cyclery a one-time $80,000 rebate grant, will provide energy credits to Fisher’s electricity bill.
The new store opened Dec. 4, replacing a cramped retail space in a strip shopping center on a busy commercial road in Las Vegas. The new location is off Interstate 215—Las Vegas’ beltway—in the Las Vegas foothills community of Summerlin, a hotbed for road cycling because the planned development is the gateway to the famed Red Rock Canyon area on Las Vegas’ west side.
The store’s $2.2 million in annual revenue covers the mortgage payments. And the per-square-foot cost of the new energy-efficient shop is actually less than the per-square-foot expenses of his former rented space, Fisher said.
Las Vegas Cyclery is well on its way to achieving Platinum LEED certification, the highest green building recognition, said Jennifer Turchin, a LEED consultant who works for Las Vegas-based Sellen Sustainability and is a cyclist who serves as the bike shop’s Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) consultant.
“I always wanted to build a net-zero building. It just happens I love bicycles,” said Fisher, an accomplished mountain biker who also owns Escape Adventures Inc. in Las Vegas and Moab Cyclery in Utah. Fisher’s Las Vegas Cyclery also runs the bike shop in the downtown Las Vegas transit center.
To create his net-zero bike shop, Fisher began working with consultants in 2008. The design includes two methods to cool and heat the building—high-efficiency air conditioning and cooling systems for Las Vegas’ famous extreme heat and cold and also evaporative coolers for moderate weather. The state-of-the-art occupancy-sensor lighting system emits little heat to minimize electricity use.
Customers can track the energy savings by checking out the store’s “renewable energy room,” protected by a Plexiglas panel. Bean-bag-style chairs stuffed with bicycle box packing debris offer seating in front of the panel.
The store works like a power plant because of a $30,000 wind turbine outside the building and 208 solar panels. Other green touches include the “re-cycle center room,” where old tire tubes are collected for myriad uses while an energy power station juices up electric bicycles. There’s also outdoor parking for 50 bikes, a dirt trail that loops around the building and preferred parking spaces for energy-efficient cars like hybrids.
Turchin said Fisher set a good example for business owners in the entire Las Vegas Valley.
“Jared and the Las Vegas Cyclery are showing that net-zero energy can be done in Las Vegas and in a retail environment. So many retail owners care more about the sale of a product, but Jared is committed to not only providing a great retail environment for his employees and the customer, but also to the Las Vegas Valley and the environment,” Turchin said.
Customers come to not only buy bikes and get repairs. They visit to enjoy the shop’s “green building tour,” which is made up of seven stops around the building. Visitors can check out the wind turbine (one of only a handful in the Las Vegas area), the re-cycle center, the upstairs balcony and the renewable energy room.
The store’s energy-efficient ways have also caught the attention of the U.S. Department of Energy, which includes Las Vegas Cyclery on its website that lists net-zero buildings around the country.