Wind power is an obvious sustainability feature at Testa Produce, Inc.’s new distribution center, thanks to its 238-foot freestanding wind turbine. However, the Chicago produce distributor is also making innovative approaches to water management that are critical to the building’s energy- and resource-efficient operation.

Through a multifaceted system, with both internal and external features, Testa Produce expects to achieve a 40-percent reduction in total demand for water used in the 91,000-square-foot facility each year.

The company’s water management system begins with exterior landscaping, which is planted both on the grounds and on the building’s partially vegetated roof with native and drought-resistant species that require minimal irrigation.

The 45,000-square-foot vegetated roof itself increases water conservation by preventing rainwater runoff. Further, Testa’s parking lot and walkways are bordered with permeable pavers. Rainwater drains through the pavers into a 140,000-gallon bio swale system, which encourages infiltration into existing soils and filters excess water into a 765,000-gallon retention pond, reducing demand on public sewers.

A 5,000-gallon internally filtered rainwater harvesting cistern stores water for non-potable uses throughout the building, including providing all water needed to flush toilets during a typical year.

The new Testa Produce distribution center, which celebrated its grand opening in early May, is expected to be the first food distribution facility in the nation to gain the U.S. Green Building Council’s highest available LEED rating: Platinum Certification.

“We set out to build the most sustainable, environmentally friendly distribution center in the country and efficient water management is a fundamental part of the plan,” says Peter Testa, president of Testa Produce. “We’ve put some of the most innovative systems available into play and they’re combining to dramatically reduce our consumption. It’s something all of our associates are really proud of.”

The water management system is just one of many advanced sustainability features, including the wind turbine, vegetated roof, and extensive use of solar panels at the new Testa Produce distribution center.  

Industry News, NextGen Casual, Technology