Testa Produce Walks Sustainability Walk

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Photo: Testa Produce

The people at Testa Produce, Inc. regard their new distribution center as a showcase for sustainable energy and water management practices.

A freestanding 238-foot wind turbine stands as a tall foundation block for sustainability planning that is taking place at this Chicago-based plant.

However, aside from generating wind and solar power, innovative approaches to water management are seen as critical to the building’s efficient use of energy and resources.

Through a multifaceted system, Testa Produce indicates that it expects to achieve a 40 percent reduction this year in total demand for water used in its 91,000 square-foot facility.

The company’s water management system includes widespread landscaping – planted on the grounds and on the building’s roof. Called a vegetated roof, it is planted with native and drought-resistant species that require minimal irrigation. The 45,000-square-foot vegetated roof system increases water conservation by preventing rainwater runoff.

Testa’s parking lot and walkways are bordered with permeable pavers, meaning 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. A 5,000-gallon filtered cistern stores water for non-potable uses throughout the building.

A grand opening was held for the new Testa Produce distribution center in early May. Company executives say the center will be the first food distribution facility in the nation to have 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,” said company president Peter Testa in a press announcement. “We’ve put some of the most innovative systems available into play and they’re combining to dramatically reduce our consumption.”

The facility was designed by Epstein architects. Summit Design + Build served as the construction manager and Equities served as owner’s project consultant. Construction and permanent financing was provided by MB Bank. All are local Chicago-based concerns.

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Glenn Meyers

is a writer, producer, and director. Meyers was editor and site director of Green Building Elements, a contributing writer for CleanTechnica, and is founder of Green Streets MediaTrain, a communications connection and eLearning hub. As an independent producer, he's been involved in the development, production and distribution of television and distance learning programs for both the education industry and corporate sector. He also is an avid gardener and loves sustainable innovation.

Glenn Meyers has 449 posts and counting. See all posts by Glenn Meyers