MINNEAPOLIS – (May 2010) – General Mills’ new, 1.5 million-square-foot distribution center in Social Circle, Ga., promotes efficiency inside and out. The company announced that the building has received LEED Gold certification, the second-highest designation a new building can receive from the US Green Building Council (USGBC). Also located just 10 miles down the road from General Mills’ Covington, Ga., facility, the distribution center’s proximity enables the company to more efficiently ship products to customers.
“We are proud of the environmental sustainability in the design, construction and operation of this facility,” said Kevin Schoen, vice president of logistics for General Mills. “It not only made sense financially to build this facility to meet LEED standards, but it was also just the right thing to do.”
The building, which is the size of 28 football fields (37 acres under one roof) and is more than a mile around the perimeter, is the largest LEED Gold industrial building in the United States. It will use high-efficiency lighting that shuts off when no one is in the area, be well-insulated to reduce heating and cooling costs, and be equipped with holding ponds to capture rainwater runoff. Operations will begin in June.
The facility will use a new centralized computer-based transportation system, which allows General Mills to deliver products by mapping out the multiple destination points of the products and load more onto each truck. “The result is more efficient truck loads, more efficient shipments and fewer trucks on the road, which reduces our overall environmental footprint,” said Schoen.
The new transportation system has helped save more than 7 million gallons of fuel through the third quarter of fiscal 2010 – a 16.7 percent reduction over last year. Viewed in a different way, the company now transports 26 percent more cases of product per gallon of fuel than it did before the new system was in place.
“We are excited to be growing in an area that is familiar to us and for all the support that the community has shown us through this process,” said Mike Nordstrom, vice president of Corporate Services, General Mills. “Our goal was not to just build a large warehouse, but to build something that reflects our commitment to nourishing the future. We are proud to continue that commitment in this new facility.”