REI Achieves First U.S. LEED Platinum & Net Zero Energy Distribution Center

by Katie Lee

Seattle — On December 24, 2016, REI’s newest distribution center, located in Goodyear, Ariz., achieved LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum certification — the highest level in the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) green building rating system — making it the first distribution center in the U.S. to achieve both LEED Platinum certification and Net Zero Energy.

The facility is the first distribution center to earn Platinum certification in 2016 and, at 400,000 square feet, is the second largest Platinum-certified distribution or warehouse facility in the U.S.

“REI worked hard to deliver a new standard for the industry that was in line with our values and commitment to sustainable operations. To create an impact that extends far beyond the co-op, we chose to open the design of the facility and our doors to the industry, not only to make it easier for other companies to build this technology into their operations, but to actively encourage them to do so,” says Rick Bingle, REI’s vice president of supply chain.

REI achieved LEED Platinum certification by implementing sustainable strategies and solutions throughout the building, including:

• Renewable Energy: The 2.2 megawatt solar system produces renewable energy on-site, enough to power the entire facility annually. The system is expected to provide REI with 20 years of free energy and pay for itself in 5 years.

• Water Conservation & Restoration: The distribution center features a non-evaporative cooling system — fully powered by renewable energy — to keep employees cool in the desert heat and save millions of gallons of water every year. REI will also help restore the nearby Verde River, enhancing water flows and creating new areas for paddling and other water sports. This project has balanced the entire co-op’s water footprint for 2 years, which USGBC rewards through its Water Restoration Certificates pilot credit.

• Eco-Friendly Building Features: REI installed energy-efficient features throughout the building, including conveyors that shut off when no items are present, an air conditioning system powered by solar energy while creating an unparalleled comfort for the employees, LED lights with motion sensors and strategically placed skylights, drought-tolerant landscaping with an underground drip irrigation system, and restrooms with no-water urinals and low-flush toilets.

• Recycling Program: Approximately 97% of all materials at the distribution center are recycled and less than 3% of waste is sent to landfills. The recycling program includes plastic, paper, wood and cardboard.

The LEED rating system, developed by USGBC, is the foremost program for the design, construction, operations and maintenance of high-performance green buildings. REI’s Goodyear facility is the co-op’s first project to earn Platinum certification. Overall, just 11% of all LEED-certified projects earn Platinum certification.

REI uses thoughtful sustainable design for the construction of all new buildings and currently has seven LEED-certified facilities, including the first-ever retail store in the country to earn a LEED Gold rating for Commercial Interiors in Portland, Ore., in 2004. The combined size of REI’s LEED-certified buildings is more than 1 million square feet, and the co-op’s developer is also pursuing LEED certification for the building that houses the new flagship store in Washington, D.C.

REI’s ability to meet Platinum certification required dedicated partners committed to the same values and goals, including Butler Design Group, Rocky Mountain Institute, Merit Partners, Inc., The Renaissance Companies, DMW&H, KNAPP, CBRE and EDF Climate Corps.

For more information on REI’s sustainability efforts, visit

REI is a specialty outdoor retailer, headquartered near Seattle. REI has 149 stores in 36 states. 


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