REI's New Warehouse Aims For LEED Silver Rating


Logistics is a hidden aspect of our consumer-based society. We only really relate to goods in a shop or in use. We rarely give any thought to how they get to us. Progressive companies like Patagonia with their Footprint Chronicles and Nau with their Grey Matter do open a window on the oft forgotten aspect of product distribution.

Which brings us to REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc) the outdoor gear retail co-operative. When you are trying to service your approximately 1.2 million active co-op members residing east of the Mississippi river it makes sense to have an effective distribution centre nearby. And that doesn't mean Washington state on the West coast. So REI last month unveiled a new 525,000 square-foot building on 43 acres. It will end up servicing about 40% of the co-op's stores.

But in order for such a beast to fit their sustainability agenda it has incorporated a few green elements. Prime among these might be the natural wetlands on an additional 12 acres. It provides wildlife habitat and storm water management.

A list of other eco-attributes appears after the fold."Early next year we anticipate being one of the largest distribution centers in the country certified by the U.S. Green Building Council." said Dave Presley, vice president of Logistics for REI.

• striving for LEED New Construction Silver certification by the USGBC
• during construction, REI donated an existing house previously located on the property to Habitat for Humanity.
• all heavy construction equipment vehicles were powered by B20 bio-diesel
• an on-site concrete and mixing plant kept hundreds of truckloads of concrete off local roads.
• over 360 windows and skylights allow a significant amount of natural daylight
• energy use will be reduced by more than 33%
• half of the conveyor belts operate only when boxes are on a given section,
• native landscaping that does not require irrigation
• dual-flush toilets, low-flow sinks and showers, and waterless urinals.
• 30 preferred parking spaces for carpoolers and fuel-efficient vehicles
• 20 bike stalls and six employee showers to accommodate bike commuters.
• a private recycler collects glass, office paper, cardboard, plastic bottles, packaging and shrink-wrap.

::REI Stewardship, via a lead from Althea H.

UPDATE: Previously our headline suggested REI already had LEED Silver certification. It would be more accurate to say they have built the centre to those standards and anticipate being formally certified in 2008.