The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) recognized the Gatorade(R) Thirst Quencher Blue Ridge facility in Wytheville, Virginia, with its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED(R)) designation at a Gold-level certification. At 950,000 square feet, the facility is the largest food and beverage site in the world to achieve this designation.

“By constructing its new manufacturing facilities to LEED(R) standards, Gatorade and its parent company PepsiCo (PEP) have demonstrated a strong commitment to the green building program — and to the long-term goals of conserving energy and protecting the environment,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair, USGBC. “The Gatorade and PepsiCo model is one we hope other industries will follow.”

The LEED Green Building Rating System(TM) is the nationally accepted benchmark for evaluating sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere efficiency, material and resource selection and indoor environmental quality.

“This significant recognition underscores our commitment to environmental stewardship, which is a core part of PepsiCo’s sustainability vision,” said Jim Lynch, senior vice president, supply chain for QTG (Quaker-Tropicana-Gatorade), a division of PepsiCo. “This achievement is just the beginning as we continue to keep our environmental commitment on the forefront and work toward achieving LEED certification at other Gatorade manufacturing and distribution facilities.”

The Gatorade Blue Ridge facility earned this special recognition with three key accomplishments.

First the USGBC cited the plant’s design which helps drive energy and environmental optimization. In terms of water, the plant maximizes the use of supply water and optimizes wastewater treatment efficiency. From an energy perspective, the facility installed state-of-the-art energy-saving measures such as high-efficiency boilers, water heaters and HVAC equipment with calibrated control systems.

The plant also placed a top priority on respect for the ecosystem and habitat during site planning and development which is a critical element of sustainability. Half of the facility’s 135 acres will be returned to its natural state to promote biodiversity.

Lastly, the Blue Ridge Plant incorporates a compelling educational component. More than 20 key LEED components in the facility are prominently displayed with permanent education posters that tell the story of the LEED mission and describe specific environmental, economic and social benefits of the site.

“Our employees are proud to work in a ‘green’ facility,” added Lynch.

The plant design also encourages employees to support the environment with premiere employee parking for bicycles, carpools and hybrid vehicles.

The U.S. Green Building Council is a coalition of corporations, builders, universities, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations working together to transform the way buildings are designed, built and operated. Since its founding in 1993, the Council has grown to more than 8,400 member companies and organizations, an 85-person professional staff, a broad portfolio of LEED(R) green building products and services, and a network of over 70 local chapters, affiliates and organizing groups.

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