February 3, 2009

Patagonia continues to walk the talk, goes LEED.


This might sound like just another nice little ‘big company goes green‘ story…but going LEED is tought, pricey (though ultimately saves a ton of green). More importantly, this is Patagonia we’re talking about—the original company to raise the bar on transparency, walking the green talk, and letting their mission guide their motives, rather than the other way around.


Retail: Patagonia takes LEED in sustainability

By Bob Trebilcock, Editor at Large –Modern Materials Handling,01/19/2009



For as long as there have been physicians, that oath has guided the practice of medicine.

It also sums up Patagonia’s approach to business. “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, and use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis,” is the mission statement that guides the Ventura, Calif.-based retailer of outdoor clothing, technical apparel, and gear for climbing, hiking, skiing, surfing and fishing.

“Whether we’re designing a new product, sourcing contract manufacturing sites, or building a new distribution center, everything we do goes back to the mission statement,” says Dave Abeloe, director of Patagonia’s 342,000-square-foot distribution center in Reno, Nev. “We ask ourselves: ‘What are we trying to accomplish with this project, and how can we do that while adhering to our values?’”

Patagonia’s do-no-harm ethic guided the design and construction of a 171,000-square-foot addition to the 12-year-old Reno distribution center. “We know that when we build a building, we’re going to cover several acres of ground,” Abeloe explains. “But, we can still do that in a sustainable way that minimizes the impact on the environment.”

The expansion was designed to reduce the demand for energy and to recycle and reuse building materials to create a green distribution center:

  • the building’s steel frame, insulation and window glass contain recycled materials;
  • energy-efficient lighting systems use motion sensors to help conserve electricity;
  • a radiant heating system uses copper tubing and hot water to save on natural gas during the heating season;
  • tiles and carpet include some recycled content while wood used in construction was either reclaimed or harvested in a sustainable way…for the rest, go here–it’s a great, instructive read.



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