Specific criteria that are evaluated for LEED Platinum certification include sustainable sites (protecting the environment), water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and the innovation and design process.
Get Paid For Your Thoughts!
- Wiley (Food Quality & Safety’s publisher) is offering $200 to qualified food scientists who participate in research interviews about challenges facing the food industry.
Take the survey >
Martin takes pride is pointing out notable features of the Lamb Weston LEED Platinum plant.
As a green benefit for employees, the entire plant is climate controlled to increase worker productivity, safety, and comfort. “Climate control in such a hot, humid environment reduces condensation build up and water on the floors, reducing slip and fall and hazards,” Martin notes.
Materials such as low VOC (volatile organic compounds) carpeting, cleaning products, and paints are used in the interior of the plant to reduce occupant exposure to airborne pollutants.
Energy-saving processing equipment saves 40 percent of the annual energy consumed at a comparable plant. “By identifying and recovering potential wasted energy within the building systems and processes, energy demand is greatly reduced,” Martin adds.
Biogas, produced by treating process wastewater, is piped back to the plant boilers to produce steam. “This process offsets approximately 20 percent of the annual natural gas demand of the plant, and prevents methane, a harmful greenhouse gas, from entering the atmosphere,” Martin says.
More than 100 acres of the Delhi property are maintained as open space, including protected wetland areas, ponds, and restored native vegetation. Water is conserved outside the building by landscaping with native plant species that require no irrigation once established.
As a unique perk to employees, priority parking is given to low-emission, fuel efficient vehicles. “Beyond the efficiencies related to the building, we want to create a culture of sustainability among our employees,” Martin says.
He is quick to reiterate Lamb Weston’s global vision for sustainability.
“Operating sustainably, and doing our part to address environmental issues like climate change, water resources, waste elimination, and access to materials is critical to creating a sustainable global food supply,” Martin emphasizes.
WhiteWave Gone Green
You could say WhiteWave Foods Co. is riding a green wave since its beverage manufacturing plant in Dallas, Texas achieved LEED Certified status for new construction in July 2014. The 325,000 ft.2-facility, which produces Silk soymilk, almond milk, and coconut milk, along with Horizon Organic milk and International Delight flavored coffee creamers, was completed in 2012 and employs nearly 300 people.
Becoming LEED Certified, WhiteWave’s Dallas plant follows the LEED Certified achievement of the company’s North American headquarters in Broomfield, Colo.
“WhiteWave is committed to changing the way the world eats for the better,” says Tom Wiester, Jr., the firm’s vice president of quality assurance and food safety. “To that end, we recognize that how we make our products is just as important as what we make. Sustainability is embedded in how WhiteWave does business, from sourcing and manufacturing to our buildings and employee programs.”
“Improving the environmental profile of our manufacturing process helps us to offer consumers more sustainable food choices, and reinforces our commitments to reduce our environmental impact,” says Wendy Behr, senior vice president of R&D and sustainability at WhiteWave Foods. “Having a LEED Certified plant was a major step for our company to showcase our commitment to sustainability by taking an approach that emphasizes sustainability at all levels of the construction and production process.”
Nearly half of all building materials were manufactured within 500 miles of the site, Behr points out. “100 percent of the wood-based building materials we used are certified sustainable by the Forest Stewardship Council,” she relates. “And nearly 90 percent of all demolition and construction waste associated with the project was diverted from landfills.”
WhiteWave used materials and design techniques that facilitate solar reflectivity, such as choosing light colors to help reduce heat transfer. “This helps to address ‘heat island’ challenges associated with urban development here in Dallas,” Behr explains.