United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) announced that its 259,729-square-foot Ridgefield WA refrigerated distribution center has been awarded LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Ridgefield, which serves as a regional distribution hub for Portland OR and other Northwest markets, features 54,000 square feet of cold storage. It is the first refrigerated distribution center to achieve Gold certification by the USGBC.

LEED is the nationally accepted benchmark for design, construction, and operation of high-performance green buildings and is a voluntary third-party rating system administered by the USGBC. The council recognizes environmental sustainability in categories such as building materials, energy efficiency, water savings, and indoor environmental quality.

UNFI began exploring LEED certification at its Ridgefield facility before construction and created a design based on Green Building best practices. Some of the environmentally focused initiatives used during development include building materials composed of a minimum 30% recycled content, low- or zero-VOC-emitting paint materials, and carpets made from 100% recyclable materials. All wood products were selected from Forest Stewardship Council suppliers, and 95% of construction waste was diverted from local landfills.

The company partnered with ARCO Design/Build of Atlanta GA to provide sustainable design and site planning for the distribution center and collaborated with LEED consultant ReVision Architecture, which specializes in sustainable design and architecture.