LANCASTER, TX (September 14, 2010)—United Natural Foods Inc., a leading national distributor of natural, organic and specialty foods and related products, has extended its commitment to utilizing renewable energy by purchasing 6,200 MWh (megawatt hours) of electricity and renewable energy from EcoElectrons Renewable Energy for its new Lancaster, TX distribution facility.
The renewable energy purchase is expected to reduce carbon emissions at its Lancaster facility by approximately 4,500 metric tons, the equivalent of nearly 10,400 barrels of oil, and complements UNFI's effort to obtain LEED(R) (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for the 590,000 square foot facility. EcoElectrons Renewable Energy specializes in supplying green power to organizations through renewable energy credits.
The renewable energy purchased by UNFI is certified by Green-e Energy, a leading renewable energy certification program in the U.S. Green-e provides independent, third-party certification to ensure renewable energy meets strict environmental and consumer protection standards.
Lisa M. Madsen, UNFI's Director, Sustainability & Philanthropy, commented, "Throughout our organization we remain deeply committed to implementing environmentally sustainable practices. By successfully collaborating with EcoElectrons at our Lancaster facility, we're able to reinforce our long-term focus to reduce our ecological footprint by utilizing green power and technologies."
UNFI produces over 2 million kilowatt hours of clean energy annually through solar electric systems installed at its Rocklin, CA and Dayville, CT facilities. It also utilizes 100% Green Power in its Ridgefield, WA distribution facility and is also member of the EPA's Green Power Partnership. This voluntary program encourages organizations to buy green power as a way to reduce the environmental impacts associated with purchased electricity use.
"UNFI's purchase of renewable energy credits is a terrific complement to the organization's existing Green initiatives including on-site solar power generation," said Rahul Chitrapu, Chief Executive of EcoElectrons. "We are very excited about UNFI's renewable energy purchase and the standard it sets amongst companies thinking about a sustainability strategy."
UNFI joins a growing list of companies and organizations that are taking tangible action to reduce carbon dioxide and other emissions from their electricity use. Electricity generated from renewable sources results in less environmental pollution, and displaces conventional fossil fuel sources like coal and natural gas from the electric grid. Currently, renewable energy accounts for only three percent of total electricity generation across U.S. UNFI's deployment of electricity generated from nearly emissions-free renewable sources avoids greenhouse gas emissions and serves to build the market for renewable energy, while increasing incentives for building new facilities.
UNFI's Lancaster, TX distribution center is currently scheduled to commence operations during September, 2010 and is strategically located 15 miles south of downtown Dallas at the intersection of Interstates 20 and 35. It will support UNFI customers and retailers throughout the Southwest including Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arkansas and Louisiana.