Sep 06, 2012 • By

A solid gold facility

General Mills opened the largest LEED Gold certified facility of its kind in North America at a special ceremony in Fort Wayne, Ind. on Wednesday.

A number of General Mills leaders were joined by local officials including Fort Wayne Deputy Mayor Mark Becker, Allen County Commissioner Nelson Peters, members of the Fort Wayne-Allen County Economic Development Alliance and the U.S. Green Building Council to cut the ribbon on the company’s new customer service facility.

The new facility is the largest warehouse and distribution center project in North America to achieve LEED Gold Certification and the third largest in the world.

It surpasses our sister facility in Social Circle, Ga., in size by only few hundred square feet. General Mills’ customer service facility in Social Circle was LEED Gold Certified in 2010 and currently is the second largest building of its kind in North America.

As part of the event in Fort Wayne, Rhiannon Jacobsen from the U.S. Green Building Council recognized the General Mills facility for integrating environmental sustainability into the building’s design, construction, operation and maintenance.

I talked to her about LEED and what it takes to achieve LEED Gold certification, in this audio clip.

What’s impressive about our Fort Wayne facility (beyond its sheer size) are the numerous environmentally friendly design features.

For example, there are several retention ponds that hold storm water that comes from the roof and paved areas. This water is used to irrigate the landscaping around the property. Inside, the building has low-flow plumbing that reduces water use by 33 percent.

There are also a number of elements in place designed to save energy such as energy efficient light fixtures, occupant sensors, high efficient HVAC systems, roof mounted up-blast exhaust fans and wall louvers. These features help make the facility 45 percent more energy efficient than the baseline model for industrial buildings.

In addition, the construction of the facility followed several environmentally conscious building practices.

Eighty-five percent of the construction waste, totaling more than 596 tons of material, was diverted from landfills by sorting the materials and sending them to the appropriate recycling centers for reuse on other products.

Local sourcing was important, too. Forty-four percent of the construction materials were extracted, processed or manufactured within 500 miles of the project site.

This is the second LEED Gold certification General Mills has received this year. In January, an expansion at General Mills’ production facility in Albuquerque, N.M., was given the award.

General Mills customer service facility in Fort Wayne is the fifth building to attain LEED certification since 2010.

For a complete look at our LEED Certified facilities, click here to view photos on Flickr. You also can learn more about them on