REI sets new standard as first U.S. LEED platinum, net zero distribution center
Photo courtesy of REI
REI’s new distribution center in Goodyear, Ariz., has achieved LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) platinum certification — the highest level in the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) green building rating system — making it the first distribution center in the U.S. to achieve both LEED platinum certification and net zero energy.
The member-owned retail cooperative’s facility is the first distribution center to earn platinum certification in 2016 and, at 400,000 square feet, is the second-largest platinum-certified distribution or warehouse facility in the country, according to a press release.
“REI worked hard to deliver a new standard for the industry that was in line with our values and commitment to sustainable operations. To create an impact that extends far beyond the co-op, we chose to open the design of the facility and our doors to the industry, not only to make it easier for other companies to build this technology into their operations, but to actively encourage them to do so,” said Rick Bingle, REI’s vice president of supply chain.
The co-op welcomes anyone within the industry or the general public to tour the distribution center in Goodyear to see the facility first-hand; interested parties can contact the co-op.
REI achieved LEED platinum by implementing sustainable strategies and solutions throughout the building, including:
- Renewable Energy:The 2.2-megawatt solar system produces renewable energy onsite, enough to power the entire facility annually. The system is expected to provide REI with 20 years of free energy and pay for itself in five years.
- Water Conservation and Restoration:The distribution center features a non-evaporative cooling system — fully powered by renewable energy — to keep employees cool in the desert heat and save millions of gallons of water every year. REI will also help restore the nearby Verde River, enhancing water flows and creating new areas for paddling and other water sports. This project has balanced the entire co-op's water footprint for two years, which USGBC rewards through its Water Restoration Certificates pilot credit.
- Eco-Friendly Building Features:REI installed energy-efficient features throughout the building, including conveyors that shut off when no items are present, an air conditioning system powered by solar energy while creating an unparalleled comfort for the employees, LED lights with motion sensors and strategically placed skylights, drought-tolerant landscaping with an underground drip irrigation system, and restrooms with no-water urinals and low-flush toilets.
- Recycling Program:Approximately 97 percent of all materials at the distribution center are recycled and less than 3 percent of waste is sent to landfills. The recycling program includes plastic, paper, wood and cardboard.
The LEED rating system, developed by USGBC, is the foremost program for the design, construction, operations and maintenance of high-performance green buildings. REI's Goodyear facility is the co-op's first project to earn platinum certification. Overall, just 11 percent of all LEED-certified projects earn platinum certification.
REI uses thoughtful sustainable design for the construction of all new buildings and currently has seven LEED-certified facilities, including the first-ever retail store in the country to earn a LEED gold rating for commercial interiors in Portland, Ore., in 2004, according to the release.
The combined size of REI's LEED-certified buildings is more than 1 million square feet, and the co-op's developer is also pursuing LEED certification for the building that houses the new flagship store in Washington, D.C.
Additional details on the distribution center and the co-op's unusual approach to help advance the parameters of sustainable design are available on the REI Newsroom. More information on REI's sustainability efforts is available at www.rei.com/stewardship.
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