Published online: Dec 17, 2009
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PepsiCo's Frito-Lay Casa Grande, Ariz., facility last week became the nation's first food manufacturing site to be awarded LEED Existing Building (EB) Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI). LEED is the nation's preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.
"Constructing a building from the ground up allows you to be more thoughtful about the sustainable choices you make, but it's extremely challenging to retrofit a 25-year-old building to make it more environmentally friendly," said Jason Gray, technical manager, Frito-Lay Casa Grande.  "However, we think the investment to have our facility meet LEED EB Gold standards is an important part for our sustainability strategy and another step in our journey."
To achieve LEED EB Certification, the company's Casa Grande sustainability strategy included implementing a number of green design and construction features, water reduction technologies and practices, as well as improved waste management.
Energy reduction: The Casa Grande facility has reduced its energy consumption by nearly 20 percent since 2006 by installing a heat recovery system that preheats cooking oil on the production line, skylights to supplement lighting systems in office areas and high efficiency ovens.
Water reduction: The Casa Grande facility has introduced water efficient landscaping with native plants and water saving technologies in the manufacturing line to decrease the site's usage by 17 percent since 2006.
Recycling: The Frito-Lay Casa Grande site won Innovations Credits from the USGBC for its Zero Landfill recycling program. As of September 2009, more than 99 percent of the facility's wastes were diverted from landfills. The site achieves this milestone through many initiatives including a stellar employee-led recycling program, reusing cardboard shipping boxes multiple times, and allocating waste product for use in animal feed.
Frito-Lay Casa Grande has been a part of the Pinal County community for 25 years. The nearly 188,000-square foot building sits on 202 acres of land. Frito-Lay Casa Grande's more than 300 associates make some of America's favorite snacks including Lay's potato chips, Fritos corn chips, Tostitos tortilla chips, Doritos tortilla chips and Cheetos cheese-flavored snacks.