Lancaster, TXThey say everything is bigger in Texas. It holds true in the case of United Natural Foods Inc. (UNFI) and its new 655 kilowatt (kW) rooftop solar array, set atop its 590,000 sq. ft. distribution center, located here. The new array adds to an already extensive infrastructure of solar energy systems installed and run by UNFI at its facilities throughout the country.

The latest Lancaster array was installed by Meridian Solar, and will generate 1,021,035 kWh of clean energy per year, pulling UNFI’s total renewable energy output over 5 million kWh annually. It is the fifth solar array that the company has installed at its facilities. “Lancaster demonstrates UNFI’s collective approach to environmental responsibility in many ways, including our commitment to expand both our successful solar and LEED certification programs,” said Tom Dziki, UNFI’s chief human resources and sustainability officer. The Lancaster facility, opened in 2010, has earned LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

UNFI, as a distributor of organic, natural and specialty products to locations across the United States and Canada, has a history of investing in ways to reduce the environmental impact of its operations. From green building projects, to water conservation, to improving the efficiency of its distribution fleet, the company has maintained an emphasis on marrying eco-friendly practices to its role as a primary distributor of products in the natural channel.

Some additional facts about the company’s latest solar array:

  • During its first year in operation, the plant is projected to generate the equivalent in energy savings of 704 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, or
  • the annual greenhouse gas emissions from 148 passenger vehicles, or
  • the annual energy use of 64 homes.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, January 2015 (online 12/11/14)