ConAgra Foods Lamb Weston Delhi Plant

Lamb Weston’s new Delhi facility was planned to combine the best processing technologies with an opportunity to integrate cutting edge green building strategies and principles. Recognizing that customers expect and reward companies that demonstrate a culture of sustainability, the Board supported this commitment with an original budget allocation to achieve LEED® Silver certification.

Strategy

Lamb Weston was committed to an integrated design approach that would focus on building performance optimization,validated by the company’s business case tests as financially sound and aligned with their corporate sustainability platform. Because process energy was expected to account for 90% of the building’s energy profile, addressing those loads represented the biggest opportunity to improve resource efficiency and associated costs. It was also recognized that manufacturing facilities have rarely achieved advanced levels of LEED certification due to difficulties in driving down energy demand.

The challenge for the team would be to optimize energy use through creative strategies while achieving consistently high quality of the frozen food product. Additionally, because the project would create approximately 275 jobs in the local Delhi community during a time of unprecedented economic challenge, the project provided a key opportunity to engage the community.

To that end, Fisher & Sons Design/Build engaged Paladino to support its team, as well as the Lamb Weston team, in evaluating LEED as a viable performance framework for the new facility and to advise of potential strategies to achieve LEED certification and improve overall performance.

Certification Strategy

Paladino’s key role was to guide the team in integrating a LEED certification strategy that would align with and support both the sustainability framework and business case model. The process was initiated by working with key stakeholders to better understand both frameworks, so that additional capital expense, if necessary, could be validated within the requirements of the business case.

Paladino facilitated a goal setting meeting to identify high level sustainability strategies to be featured in the final project design and construction approach. This meeting was attended by senior project stakeholders from the design, construction and plant engineering/operation teams. By capturing requirements for sustainability early in the project, Paladino was able to provide optimal guidance to the design team before a site was purchased and before the building had been designed.

Early direction by Paladino allowed designers to incorporate sustainability from the early phases of design, optimizing the costs and benefits associated with strategies such as storm water management and indoor air quality.

Quality Control Process

As an organization with deep internal expertise and a culture of excellence, quality control is core business for Lamb Weston, so Paladino used LEED as a quality control process to help the team embed building performance improvement into an already-innovative project. Through this lens, Paladino performed successive reviews of design and construction progress during the design-build project against the LEED rating system and identified opportunities for further optimization.

Paladino also led training sessions with the designers, the contractor and sub-contractors to enable the entire team to seek out and deliver sustainability initiatives within their specific areas of expertise By empowering the design-build team to advocate for the sustainable features of the project, Paladino helped the owner realize best-in-class outcomes. The construction team innovated to divert 89% of all construction waste from landfill despite the very limited recycling infrastructure available locally.

Marketing and Communications

Finally, Paladino assisted Lamb Weston with their marketing and communications outreach for the plant launch and LEED certification milestone, including supporting the development of a press release and key messaging, and presenting at the LEED plaque ceremony. Paladino worked directly with Lamb Weston to articulate the authentic story of the project’s successes, based around ConAgra Food’s framework of “Good for you, Good for Community, Good for the Planet.” Paladino was invited to present at ConAgra Food’s Sustainable Development Awards event at the Omaha headquarters and collaborated with Lamb Weston and Fisher & Sons to generate responses for award programs.

Results

Surpassed the original LEED Silver goal with a LEED NC Platinum rating
44% reduction in energy use achieved
60% reduction in domestic water usage through low flow plumbing
89% construction waste diverted from landfills