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PACK RAT: Protecting the Environment Their Customers Love

Posted by tbaker |
Pack Rat

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Skylights in the Pack Rat store location at 209 W. Sunbridge Dr. in Fayetteville.

Staff Report

Pack Rat is known in the environmental community for more than just awesome outdoor gear. They’ve been showing they care about their environmental footprint since the beginning, and in the very structure that holds them together. From skylights to a recycled plastic deck, to American-made boats, they’re doing their part to save the environment. We wanted to give a thumbs up to Pack Rat’s green business model, as well as highlight some of the big changes they’ve made as forgers of the Green Path and our healthy future in NWA.

• ChoiceDek — Advanced Environmental Recycling Technologies Inc. in Springdale — was the manufacturer of their decking material. This means it is made of wood fibers encapsulated in recycled plastic to make it virtually moisture proof and maintenance free. This allows for plastic to be reused, and the customer to save on stains, paints and general time and effort. Each deck also has a 25-year warranty.

• But there’s much more to their building on Sunbridge Drive in Fayetteville than a deck. They have a 16,000-square-foot building originally constructed in Montana from standing trees that burned in the Kootenai National Forest fire several years earlier. In 2002, the trees were removed from the forest by Helicopter and sleds pulled by mules in order to do the least amount of damage to the new growth in the forest. They kept it local with architects and contractors who were hired to do the building and upkeep.

• While the structure holds about 235 tons of logs, the sales floor is cabin-grade flooring made of second-use oak locally harvested in Missouri.

• The sales floor is illuminated with fixtures from Ecowood Fixtures in Sonoma, Calif., that work to stop the flow of waste from timber frame manufacturing to the landfill and the burn pile. Their sources are usually large beams from commercial buildings that have been deconstructed. What they become are another natural-feeling design element of Pack Rat’s spacious sales floor.

• Pack Rat can also brag to be the first retail business to complete a Next Gen Illumination, Inc. lighting retrofit, and will now serve as a showroom for their lighting system as well. By making the switch to LED light bulbs they took wattage consumption from 6,000 with halides and flourescents to 1,458 watts. This means a reduction of 32.4 metric tons of Co2 emissions each year – the equivalent of 6.4 cars or four homes. And for Pack Rat, that has meant a savings of $131 a month since the new lighting system was installed.

• Their heating and cooling system is an Energy Recovery ventilation system allowing fresh air to come into the building and be heated or cooled for comfort. This means a savings of more than $400 a year in heating and cooling alone.

• After water aerators were installed on four of their five faucets, .5 gallon per minute was saved in the restrooms and 1 gallon per minute in kitchen sink.

• And of course, their products reflect their environmental dedication. Companies like Patagonia that give back 1 percent of profits to the planet, and Polartec fleece that’s 100 percent recycled and recyclable.
It seems only appropriate that Pack Rat would be dedicated to preserving the environment its customers love, but that doesn’t take away from the amount of extra work and effort they’ve shown in trying to do things a better way.

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