According to the U.S. EPA, the annual mean air temperature of a city with 1 million people or more can be 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit to 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than its surroundings, increasing summertime peak energy demand, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and heat-related illness.
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On the water conservation front, WhiteWave’s Dallas plant features landscaping that requires no irrigation and plumbing fixtures such as high-efficiency appliances in washrooms that use 30 percent less water than standard versions. “Water conservation is a major focus at WhiteWave throughout the production process,” Behr mentions. “We’re committed to using less water and the LEED building program provided an opportunity for us to have that positive impact.”
WhiteWave Foods manufactures plant-based foods and beverages, coffee creamers and beverages, premium dairy products, and organic produce at eight facilities in the U.S., including Jacksonville, Fl., Mount Crawford, Va., and Dallas, Texas.
In addition to its recent focus on green building, WhiteWave’s sustainability initiatives are driven throughout its supply chain, according to Deanna Bratter, the company’s director of sustainability. “Improving the environmental and social impacts of our business; improving responsible material sourcing; increasing packaging sustainability; and reducing waste-to-landfill, water consumption, and greenhouse gas emissions are all important components of driving our business and our sustainability ambitions,” Bratter emphasizes.
“From 2013 to 2014 WhiteWave has reduced Greenhouse Gas Emissions 5 percent, waste to landfill by 17 percent, and non-ingredient water use by 4 percent per pound of product produced at all of our owned manufacturing facilities.” Bratter relates.
As for upcoming sustainability plans, WhiteWave is applying for LEED Certified status for its new Technical Innovation Center, located in Louisville, Colo.
“We recognize that our goal as a company isn’t just about producing great-tasting food, it’s about doing so in a way that’s good for people and the planet,” Bratter says. “Sustainability is a core to the mission of WhiteWave and we look forward to continued progress toward our sustainability goals for years to come.”
LEED: Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design
Recognized worldwide as the premier mark of achievement in green building, Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices.
As an internationally recognized mark of excellence, LEED provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations, and maintenance solutions.
Specifically, LEED is a set of rating systems for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of green buildings, homes, and neighborhoods.
Affording flexibility, LEED applies to all building types, including commercial, residential, and entire neighborhood communities. LEED works throughout the building lifecycle, namely design and construction, operations and maintenance, tenant fitout, and significant retrofit.
Developed by the Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED helps building owners and operators be environmentally responsible and use resources efficiently. (LEED is a registered trademark of the USBC.)
LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification that a building, home, or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at achieving high performance in key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.
The Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) is the third-party administrator of the LEED certification program. The GBCI performs the technical reviews and verification of LEED-registered projects to determine if they have met the standards set forth by the LEED rating system.
Some 12.4 billion square feet of building space are participating in the suite of LEED rating systems and 1.85 million square feet are certifying per day around the world, according to the USBC. As of March 2015, approximately 44 percent of all square footage pursuing LEED certification existed outside the U.S., also according to the USBC.
How to Receive LEED Certification
To receive LEED certification, building projects satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different levels of certification.