REI Receives Silver for Green DC

REI’s new DC in Bedford, Pa., was built to harness solar and wind power, saving the company 33% in energy costs.

Outdoor outfitter REI’s commitment to green building is reflected in its new distribution center (DC). The 525,000-sq.-ft. facility, in Bedford, Pa., has received the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certification for new construction. The 43-acre DC center is one of the largest green buildings and properties in the country.

The facility complements REI’s other DC, in Sumner, Wash., which underwent a lighting retrofit in 2006 that resulted in the savings of some 1 million kilowatt-hours annually while improving lighting levels. The retrofit also saved REI approximately $100,000 per year.

REI’s new DC is positioned so that the building takes advantage of sun and wind direction. More than 360 windows and skylights allow natural light throughout the building, helping REI reduce its energy use by more than 33%. Construction carbon emissions were reduced through the use of heavy construction-equipment vehicles powered by bio-diesel and an on-site concrete and mixing plant that kept hundreds of trucks off local roads. Other green features include:

Operating half of the six miles of conveyor belts when boxes are on a given section;

Reducing water use by installing dual-flush toilets, low-flow sinks and showers, and waterless urinals, also through use of native landscaping that doesn’t require irrigation:

Providing preferred parking spaces for carpoolers and fuel-efficient vehicles, and bike stalls and employee showers to accommodate bike commuters;

Contracting with a private recycling vendor to recycle glass, office paper, cardboard, plastic bottles, packaging and shrink-wrap; and

The purchase of 12 additional acres to create a natural wetland to manage storm-water runoff and create a natural wetland for local wildlife.