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Specialty outdoor retailer in new sustainability milestone


REI continues its efforts to lead on sustainable operations.

The retailer’s newest distribution center, in Goodyear, Arizona, has achieved LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Platinum certification — the highest level in the U.S. Green Building Council’s green building rating system — making it the first DC in the U.S. to achieve both LEED Platinum certification and Net Zero Energy.

The 400,000-sq.-ft. building is the second largest Platinum-certified distribution facility in the United States.

"REI worked hard to deliver a new standard for the industry that was in line with our values and commitment to sustainable operations,” said Rick Bingle, REI's VP of supply chain. “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."

REI achieved LEED Platinum certification by implementing sustainable strategies and solutions throughout the building, including:

• Renewable energy: The 2.2 megawatt solar system produces renewable energy on-site, 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 & 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.

Despite being in the middle of a desert, the center will help restore the nearby Verde River, enhancing water flows and creating new areas for paddling and other water sports. This project, which has led the USGBC to recognize Water Restoration Certificates for LEED points, has balanced REI’s entire water footprint for two years.

• Eco-friendly building features: REI installed energy-efficient features throughout the building, including conveyors that shut off when no items are present, and an air conditioning system powered by solar energy that also creates unparalleled comfort for the employees.

In addition, the building features 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% of all materials at the distribution center are recycled and less than 3% of waste is sent to landfills. The recycling program includes plastic, paper, wood and cardboard.

The facility is the first distribution center to earn Platinum certification in 2016 and, at 400,000 sq. ft., is the second largest Platinum-certified distribution or warehouse facility in the United States.

The nation's largest consumer co-op, REI operates 149 stores in 36 states.

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