When Ikea's Nova Scotia store opens next year, it will be the company's most sustainable building in Canada.

The company announced the building's expected environmental features at a ground-breaking ceremony at Dartmouth Crossing Tuesday. 

Those features will include:

  • Rooftop solar panels to generate electricity.
  • A solar wall inside, which will use passive solar energy to heat air moving behind the wall.
  • Geothermal energy for half of the building's heating and cooling needs.
  • A living wall of plants to help purify the air in the building.
  • 100 per cent LED lighting.
  • At least 85 per cent of waste would be diverted from the landfill to recycling plants.
  • A free batteries and light bulbs return service.
  • Two electric vehicle recharging stations.
Ikea Canada

A living wall of plants will help purify the building's air supply, the company said Tuesday. (Ikea Canada)

A lot of applications

Ikea intends to hire 300 people, half of them full time, for which the company has received more then 1,500 applications already, company vice-president David McCabe said at the ceremony.

"The response has been amazing," he said.

All employees, whether full or part time, will receive benefits, he said. 

Ikea Canada

The Dartmouth Crossing store will be 330,000 square feet, the company said. (Ikea Canada)

Catalogues coming this month

Construction to build the 330,000-square-foot store is expected to take 14 to 16 months, opening in the fall of 2017, the company said. 

But starting later this month, the company will deliver 154,000 catalogues in the Halifax area.

Ikea ground breaking

The official ground-breaking ceremony for the new IKEA Dartmouth Crossing store was Tuesday. (Pam Berman/CBC)

'One big step closer'

The company says customers will be able to pick up orders at a Halifax-area collection point for a lower cost, until the Dartmouth store is open.

"It's a great day for the municipality," Halifax Mayor Mike Savage said at the ceremony. 

"People are eager for the doors to be open. Today we are one big step closer." 

With files from CBC's Pam Berman