A Kangaroo Express in S.C. Goes Green

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A Kangaroo Express in S.C. Goes Green

By Vilma Barr - 10/13/2009
NEW YORK -- In a collaboration with architect Christopher M. Karpus, Mark Jordan worked to design his Kangaroo Express convenience store on Central Avenue in Knightsville, S.C., to produce a stylish interpretation of regional architecture, combined with sustainable building materials and distinctive lighting.

"[Jordan] had the imagination and foresight to try something new, to offer an environment that is both safe for patrons and an identifiable landmark," said Karpus, of Karpus Design LLC, Summerville, S.C. "This Kangaroo Express was an experiment for both of us to test the process, finances and customer reaction to the architecture and interior design."

Kangaroo Express is the primary operating banner of Sanford, N.C.-based The Pantry Inc., a major independently operated c-store chain in the southeastern United States. As with any c-store, the prime objectives for the Knightsville Kangaroo included attracting repeat patrons, increasing sales and presenting a safe environment -- "especially for moms," Karpus noted. But the comparison with run-of-the-road convenience facilities stops there, as the Knightsville store has carved out its own public identity. From its LED-lit gas island canopy outside, to its sculptural illuminated overhead grid inside, the store communicates its function and its appealing personality 24/7.

Inside the store, the 3,700-square-foot open floorplan allows patrons quick access to pre-packaged merchandise, as well as the prepared food section. The project's sustainable highlights include the use of fly ash in the concrete derived from coal-fired power plants; Solatubes that beam daylighting into the store interior; energy-efficient LED lighting in the coolers; low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints and adhesives; recycled glass in the countertops; and cabinets fabricated of pressed wheat.

A ceiling-hung, kidney-shaped grid with integrated illumination serves as the interior's focal point. Manufactured of recycled metal by USG, the grid is painted a warm earth tone and mounted with track lighting fitted with 50-watt MR16 lamps. For this Kangaroo Express store, the grid measures 7-foot, 10 inches at its widest point, with mechanical ductwork suspended above. A pendant-hung "upgraded warehouse" fixture with a glass shade contains two 42-watt triple fluorescent lamps.

"Solatubes installed throughout the building bring daylight into merchandise display and service areas during the day," Karpus pointed out. "At night, integrated 26-watt fluorescent lamps are switched on to provide the store's ambient light." Karpus repeated the grid pattern in the polished acid-stained concrete floor.

The store's interior walls are painted a mossy green. Restroom walls are covered with reflective, recycled aluminum -- a surprise design statement, as well as a functional light enhancer. Its textured surface has a triangular pattern, easily cleanable with a soft damp cloth.

While typical exterior gas canopies are flat with a 3-foot-high fascia for signage, at the Knightsville Kangaroo Express, the height is 16 feet plus another 2 feet for an extended ribbon of overlap, Karpus explains. Fabricated of 5V crimped steel, the canopy has a double row of white LED fixtures mounted along the long sides of the rectangular-shaped structure, and a single row down the middle.

Karpus specified black metal for the roof to tie it in with traditional local Summerville-area architecture. He described the building's form as "rural low-country," with a corrugated aluminum and stained cypress skin. Tall, mullioned windows are nearly 9 feet high.

Two more Kangaroo Express sites of similar design are in the planning stages. "A design like this brings value to the community," Karpus affirmed. "The patrons are enjoying the experience."

--Nielsen Business Media

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