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Pursue LEED certification for industrial facilities

Mile Hi Bakery, a high-speed, full-capacity Denver bakery that supplies buns to brands like Wendy’s and McDonald’s, received LEED Gold certification in 2014. Courtesy Xcel Energy
Patti Mason Director, USGBC Colorado, Denver

Patti Mason
Director, USGBC Colorado, Denver

Earlier this year, the U.S. Green Building Council released its LEED in Motion: Industrial Facilities report, which highlights collaborative efforts across the manufacturing sector to design and implement LEED and prioritize environmental stewardship for industrial facilities. LEED, the world’s premier green building rating system, provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building strategies and is designed to be flexible for all building types.

Industrial facilities, which include manufacturing buildings, warehouses, distribution centers and industrial campuses, often operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week and on a vastly larger scale than other commercial buildings. The manufacturing sector is responsible for 30 percent of the nation’s total energy consumption and uses an estimated 15,900 million gallons of water per day, which is roughly 4 percent of total daily domestic water use. LEED certified industrial facilities are more resource efficient and high performing, which translates to increased asset value and millions of dollars in savings for owners and operators.

Currently, there are more than 1,755 LEED certified industrial facilities worldwide, totaling more than 496 million square feet, and an additional 2,710 registered projects representing nearly 737 million sf. Here in Colorado, there are six LEED certified industrial facilities totaling 780,409 gross sf. Among those facilities is Denver’s Mile Hi Bakery, a high-speed, full-capacity bakery that supplies buns to brands like Wendy’s and McDonald’s, which received LEED Gold certification in 2014.

“The Taddonio family, who owns the bakery, was really committed to building the bakery sustainably,” said Sonrisa Lucero, LEED AP BD+C, O+M, owner/sustainability engineer at Sustainnovations LLC, who was the LEED consultant for the project. “LEED Gold certification was a way for the Mile Hi Bakery to distinguish themselves from their competitors as sustainability leaders while reducing their bottom line. This project showed the enormous potential that industrial companies have to achieve sustainability at scale.”

In pursuing LEED certification, the Mile Hi Bakery took measures to lower the electric lighting load by creating 21 skylights for daylight harvesting. To reduce heat island effect, solar reflecting roofing materials were installed to help reduce the building temperature in the summer. The bakery also installed energy-efficient equipment and an ammonia refrigeration system that offers high-efficiency heat transfer at a lower price point than traditional chlorofluorocarbon coolant. As a result of these measures, the Mile Hi Bakery saves enough electricity to power 380 homes.

The manufacturing sector is a significant economic driver worldwide. In 2014, the manufacturing industry contributed $2.1 trillion in gross domestic product and, according to the National Association of Manufacturers, for every $1 spent in manufacturing, an additional $1.40 is added to the economy. The sector also provides 12.33 million jobs and indirectly supports an additional 18.5 million jobs. USGBC’s recent Green Building Economic Impact Study found that across industries, green construction jobs are poised to create more than 3.3 million U.S. jobs and $190.3 billion in labor earnings by 2018. In Colorado alone, green construction will contribute 281,000 jobs and $23.92 billion to the gross domestic product between 2015 and 2018.

Featured in the October 2016 issue of Property Management Quarterly.

Edited by the Colorado Real Estate Journal staff.