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General Mills’ first production facility earns LEED® certification

Expansion at AlbuquerqueFacility joins a growing list of company’s LEED-certified buildings

An expansion at General Mills’ Albuquerque, N.M., facility was today awarded the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® Gold certification during a celebration attended by New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez. This is the first General Mills’ production facility, and the fourth company building, to earn LEED certification.

“General Mills is a fixture in Albuquerque and an important part of New Mexico’s economy,” said Gov. Martinez. “This expansion strengthens the health and vitality of New Mexico for all who live and work here and creates new local jobs. We commend General Mills for their success and community-conscious efforts and look forward to continued growth and job creation in the Albuquerque area.”

General Mills Plant Manager Keith Bone also spoke at today’s award ceremony, affirming the company’s commitment to minimizing its environmental footprint.

“Albuquerque is proud to be General Mills’ first production facility to earn this internationally recognized distinction for sustainable design and construction,” Bone said. “This milestone underscores our efforts to continuously improve our environmental performance and steward the natural resource base on which our business depends.”

Out of the 8,000 LEED-certified projects in the world, there are fewer than 10 certified food production facilities.

Among the environmental benefits of the new facility are:

  • A more aggressive recycling program that has practically eliminated the plant’s waste paper, plastics, cardboard and packaging.  
  • A nearly 30 percent reduction in energy use over General Mills’ most energy-efficient plant, primarily due to a proprietary high-efficiency oven on the production line that is used for toasting.
  • A more than 30 percent reduction in indoor water use due to the installation of high-efficiency faucets and low-flow plumbing, and a nearly 70 percent reduction in irrigation water after native vegetation was used for landscaping.

Also contributing to the LEED Gold certification was the plant’s commitment to:

  • Alternative transportation. The plant purchased several bicycles that it loans to employees for commuting, and partnered with the city of Albuquerque to install 30 bike lockers to store the loaners as well as employees’ personal bikes. In addition, the plant is located within a half mile of a commuter railway and city bus lines. Preferred parking spots are also reserved for low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles in the company lot.
  • Brownfield redevelopment. The expansion was developed on property that required remediation before construction – eliminating the need to clear virgin cropland or other property for building. 
  • Construction waste management. By controlling and sorting construction materials, the facility was able to divert 471 tons of waste away from landfills – nearly 80 percent of the project’s total construction waste – and use the material for other productive purposes.

Several other General Mills’ facilities have been awarded LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.  In October 2011, the Swiss Innovation Center for the company’s global cereal partnership with Nestlé became the first industrial building in Switzerland to receive LEED Platinum certification.  In 2010, General Mills’ distribution facility in Social Circle, Ga., became the largest LEED Gold “Industrial” building in the U.S. and the second-largest in the world.  In the same year, a building adjacent to the company’s headquarters in Minneapolis became the first General Mills facility to receive LEED certification for an existing structure.

LEED is an internationally recognized building certification system that provides a framework for integrating environmental sustainability into a building’s design, construction, operation and maintenance.

About General Mills
General Mills is one of the world’s leading food companies, operating in more than 100 countries.  Its consumer brands include Cheerios, Häagen-Dazs, Nature Valley, Yoplait, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Green Giant, Progresso and Old El Paso. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, General Mills had fiscal 2011 net sales of US$14.9 billion.
Learn more about General Mills’ sustainability efforts by visiting A Taste of General Mills, the company’s corporate blog.

For more information, contact:

Sheila Kley
General Mills

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