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United Natural Foods, Inc.’s (UNFI) Chesterfield, N.H. distribution center has earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ENERGY STAR rating for its superior energy efficiency and environmental protection. To qualify, the facility had to place among the top 25 percent of the most energy-efficient facilities in the country.
Buildings awarded the ENERGY STAR rating typically use 35 percent less energy and vent 35 percent less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than average buildings. Further, the facility meets or exceeds standards for thermal comfort, indoor air quality and luminance levels.
Among the features at the Chesterfield DC that enabled it to qualify for the ENERGY STAR distinction are energy-efficient motion-activated T-8 lighting in the full-case warehouse area and motion-activated T-5 lighting for the repack mezzanine. UNFI also installed improvements to the administration area’s HVAC system, including the replacement of the main office air conditioning unit, as well as upgrades to the duct system that greatly boosted efficiency in the delivery of both heating and cooling.
“This recognition marks our most recent success with the environmental sustainability initiatives that we have implemented over the past few years,” noted UNFI president and CEO Steve Spinner. “Through our efforts as an environmentally conscious organization, we continue to improve energy efficiency throughout the enterprise while remaining committed to managing costs and improving shareholder return.”
The 319,000-square-foot DC, at which over 500 associates work, is a regional distribution hub for customers in New England, New Jersey, the metro New York area and all of New York state. Thirty percent of the total floor space within the facility is served by mechanical cooling equipment. Repack selection employs paperless “pick-to-light” technology, which significantly reduces the amount of paper used in order processing.
“Further demonstrating our ongoing and deep commitment to environmental stewardship, we have been focused on operating energy-efficient and sustainable buildings across our entire supply chain,” said UNFI SVP of sustainable development Tom Dziki.
EPA introduced ENERGY STAR in 1992 as a voluntary, market-based partnership to lower greenhouse gas emissions via energy efficiency. Today, over 60 types of products, new homes, and commercial and industrial buildings carry the partnership’s label.
Providence, R.I.-based UNFI carries and distributes over 60,000 products to more than 17,000 customer locations nationwide. The company serves a wide variety of retail formats, including conventional supermarket chains, natural product superstores, independent retail operators and the foodservice channel.