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September 06, 2012

General Mills Says 'Cheerio' to Another LEED Facility



A massive structure in Fort Wayne, Indiana, that could hold 28 football fields is now the largest warehouse and distribution center in North America to achieve LEED Gold certification— and the third largest in the world.

What’s more, the facility is racking up other accomplishments. The ribbon-cutting ceremony this week marked the opening of the fourth General Mills building to attain LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council—or the fifth, if you include the Cereal Partners Worldwide Innovation Center in Switzerland, which is part of the company’s joint venture with Nestlé, the chocolate company based on the north shore of Lake Geneva, near Lausanne.

“We take great pride in the incredible number of environmentally sustainable design elements and construction practices that have gone into this building,” said Mike Nordstrom, vice president of Global Workplace Solutions, General Mills. “We built this facility with LEED Gold certification as our goal. We are pleased to add the Fort Wayne customer service facility to our growing number of LEED certified buildings.” 

The building makes use of several efficiency technologies and environmentally friendly design elements, including:

  • A white roof and 100 percent concrete paving that reflect sunlight to reduce radiant heat and air conditioning costs;
  • Low-flow plumbing fixtures that reduce water use by 33 percent;
  • Retention ponds that hold storm water from the roof and paved areas for landscaping irrigation use;
  • Energy efficient light fixtures, occupant sensors, high efficient HVAC systems, roof mounted up-blast exhaust fans and wall louvers, which make the facility 45 percent more energy efficient than the baseline model for industrial buildings;  and
  • Superior ventilation that exceeds fresh air requirements by 30 percent.
  • During construction of the facility, General Mills also maintained high environmental standards, so that:
  • Eighty-five percent of the construction waste, totaling more than 596 tons of material, was diverted from landfills by sorting the materials and sending them to the appropriate recycling centers for reuse on other products;
  • Forty-four percent of the construction materials were extracted, processed or manufactured within 500 miles of the project site.; and

Green Power Certificates have been purchased for 70 percent of the building’s electrical usage, signifying an investment in future technologies of non-fossil fuel energy sources.

The facility will use a centralized computer-based transportation system, which allows General Mills to deliver products by mapping multiple destination points and methodically loading more onto each truck. The result is more efficient truck loads, more efficient shipments and fewer trucks on the road.

“Fort Wayne is a highly desirable location, given Indiana’s expansive transit infrastructure and proximity to the General Mills supply chain operations in the Midwest,” said Kevin Schoen, vice president of North American Operations for General Mills. “Indiana has a hard-working, dedicated workforce, and we are excited by the strategic location that Fort Wayne offers.”

The building was constructed by New York-based Rockefeller Group Development Corporation, which completed the project last month. “The Rockefeller Group is proud to have developed and completed two LEED Gold warehouse and distribution centers for General Mills in the past two years,” said Les Smith, executive vice president of development for The Rockefeller Group. “This project represents our mutual dedication to sustainability and our sensitivity to environmental concerns. We are proud of all the work that has gone into this world-class facility and wish General Mills much success in their new space.”

LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is an internationally recognized building certification system that provides a framework for integrating environmental sustainability into a building’s design, construction, operation and maintenance. There are four levels of environmental achievement: Platinum, Gold, Silver and Certified.

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Edited by Rachel Ramsey

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