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The new United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) distribution center in Ridgefield, Wash. has been awarded LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The 259,729-square-foot facility, which serves as a regional distribution hub for customers in Portland, Ore., and other Northwest markets, features 54,000 square feet of cold storage, making it the first refrigerated distribution center to earn Gold certification from the USGBC.
"We have successfully begun implementing a number of environmental construction initiatives over the past few years, and the prestigious LEED Gold certification for environmentally responsible design of our Ridgefield facility is a significant milestone for our organization and all of our associates," said Steve Spinner, UNFI's president and CEO. "We are a company committed to improving shareholder return while demonstrating a long-term dedication to sustainability and our environment."
LEED is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings and is a voluntary third-party rating system administered by the USGBC. The council recognizes environmental sustainability in different categories, such as building materials, energy efficiency, water savings and indoor environmental quality.
UNFI began exploring LEED certification at its Ridgefield facility prior to construction and created a design based on green building best practices. Some of the environmentally focused initiatives used during development include building materials that were composed of a minimum 30 percent recycled content, low- or zero-VOC emitting paint materials, and carpets made from 100 percent recyclable materials. Additionally, all wood products were selected from Forest Stewardship Council suppliers, and 95 percent of construction waste was diverted from local landfills.
UNFI worked with Atlanta-based ARCO Design/Build to provide sustainable design and site planning for the distribution center, and collaborated with leading LEED consultant ReVision Architecture in Philadelphia, which specializes in sustainable design and architecture.
Dayville, Conn.-based UNFI carries and distributes more than 60,000 products to more than 17,000 customers nationwide.