ConAgra reveals how eco-friendly plant scooped green certification

By Rory Harrington

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Water

ConAgra Foods Lambs Weston said one of its frozen food processing plants is the first of its kind in the world to receive the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification.

The US-based giant unveiled how wide-ranging measures from energy consumption and climate control to giving parking priority to greener cars all helped it receive a top eco-award for the plant at Delhi, Louisiana, from the US Green Building Council (USGBC).

The facility, which began operations processing sweet potatoes in September 2010, was built with its environmental impact in mind and has included the newest and best processing and packaging technologies, said ConAgra.


LEED Platinum certification is awarded based on specific criteria: sustainable sites (protecting the environment), water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and the innovation and design process.

The food processing firm said the standout features of its plant were that the entire facility is climate controlled to increase worker productivity as well as boosting safety and comfort. For example, in such a hot, humid environment this reduces condensation build-up and water on the floors, reducing slip and fall and hazards.

Materials, such as low VOC (volatile organic compounds) carpeting, cleaning products and paints, are used in the interior of the plant to reduce exposure to airborne pollutants.

The installation of energy-saving equipment and the development of systems to recover energy already used are forecast to save up to 40 per cent of the annual energy consumed at a comparable site, said the company.

Biogas, produced by treating process waste water, is piped back to the plant boilers to produce steam. This process is expected to offset approximately 20 per cent of the annual natural gas demand of the plant, and reduces emissions of the greenhouse gas methane.

Parking preference

More than 100 acres of the property will be maintained as open space, including protected wetland areas, ponds and restored native vegetation. Water is conserved outside the building by landscaping with native plant species that require no irrigation once established.

Priority parking is given to low-emission, fuel efficient vehicles.

"LEED was used as a back-check to validate the sustainable strategies implemented during design and construction”,​ said Patrick Leonard, green building consultant, LEED AP, Paladino and Company. “The Platinum rating is the positive outcome of our team's focus on balancing the project's impacts to the planet, employees and the community, and Lamb Weston's bottom line."

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