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Natural and organic product wholesaler United Natural Foods, Inc.’s (UNFI) York, Pa., distribution center has been awarded LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), as verified by the Washington-based Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI). LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the leading U.S. program for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings.
The 675,000-square-foot facility at the Greenspring Industrial Park, which opened in fall 2008, is the largest in the UNFI’s distribution network. In its focus on efficient water and energy use in addition to resource conservation, the Providence, R.I.-based company implemented such site features as:
—Sourcing over 60 percent of building materials from regional suppliers
—The diversion of over 95 percent of construction waste from area landfills
—Using building materials during construction containing over 35 percent recycled content;
—The installation of a cistern to store 20,000 gallons of diverted rainwater to use for the center’s refrigeration system
—Water use reduction of over 40 percent using motion-activated sensors and flow controls throughout the building
“Our associates continue to make significant strides in reducing our impact on the environment by incorporating sustainability in all of our business practices,” noted the distributor’s president and CEO, Steve Spinner. “This LEED certification is another example of UNFI’s commitment to utilizing environmentally friendly design and construction practices.”
“UNFI’s LEED certification demonstrates tremendous green building leadership,” added Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair of Washington-based USGBC. “The urgency of [our] mission has challenged the industry to move faster and reach further than ever before, and United Natural Foods serves as a prime example with just how much we can accomplish.”
“Implementing new technologies both during construction and in building management is just one of the ways that we make sure we’re doing the right things for the environment even as we continue to grow as an organization,” said UNFI VP of sustainable development Tom Dziki. “Over 70 percent of all electronic equipment and appliances in the York facility are Energy star rated. This and other technologies we’ve employed enable this facility to reduce lighting power density by more than 25 perecent when compared with a typical building of the same size."
The York DC, for which UNFI joined forces with Atlanta’s ARCO Design/Build, Inc. regarding design and site planning, is UNFI’s second LEED-certified facility. Last year, the company’s Ridgefield, Wash., facility received LEED Gold certification. Additionally, UNFI is currently seeking LEED Silver certification for its new Providence headquarters and LEED Gold for a 590,000-square-foot DC under construction in Lancaster, Texas.
UNFI carries and distributes over 60,000 products to more than 23,000 customer locations in the United States and Canada. The company serves a wide variety of retail formats, including conventional supermarket chains, natural product superstores, independent retail operators and the foodservice channel.