April 9 2014 07:02 AM

Hilmar Cheese Company, Inc.'s Headquarters and Innovation Center Awarded Prestigious LEED® Green Building Platinum Certification

Hilmar Cheese Company In a dedication ceremony today, Hilmar Cheese Company, Inc. announced its new Headquarters and Innovation Center in Hilmar, California was awarded LEED® Platinum certification established by the U.S. Green Building Council and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI). LEED is the nation's preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.

Richard Clauss, chairman of the Hilmar Cheese Company board of directors, opened the dedication explaining, "LEED demonstrates our continuing commitment to stewardship and sustainability. Our owners and employees live here and we strive to do what is right for our employees, the dairy farmers that supply us milk, the community and our natural resources."

Core to the new Headquarters is the Innovation Center with the latest pilot plant and food application equipment. The Innovation Center is focused on delivering greater service and knowledge to U.S. and global customers. Food scientists use the newest equipment and technology to help food companies find success incorporating dairy into healthy foods and beverages.

"We appreciate Hilmar Cheese Company's commitment to California and applaud the company for showing the way with environmentally-friendly construction," said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross who helped unveil the award. "This facility is well equipped to compete in a 21st Century that presents the ultimate challenge of feeding a fast growing world population while minimizing our environmental footprint."

The Headquarters and Innovation Center is the first privately-funded LEED Platinum certified building in Merced County and one of just a few in the Central Valley.

"As far as we know, it is also the first dairy industry LEED Platinum certified building in the United States," commented David Ahlem, Hilmar Cheese Company Vice President and General Manager - Cheese.

"This award is a testament to the innovative benchmarks being achieved by our businesses right here in Merced County," Merced County Supervisor Deidre Kelsey said. "Hilmar Cheese Company's efforts to conserve water, save energy and reduce resource use are also focal points of the Board of Supervisors, and I appreciate them taking the initiative to make Merced County a better place to live, work and do business."

"Hilmar Cheese Company's new LEED Platinum certified building displays their commitment to innovation, and I am pleased to see the center bring new technical jobs to the Central Valley," commented Representative Jeff Denham.

"This is our 30th year in business," said John Jeter, CEO and President, Hilmar Cheese Company. "We have seen tremendous improvements in technology and we have made the investments to continually improve our ability to conserve, reclaim and recycle. As we designed our headquarters to be efficient, LEED provided a global standard to demonstrate our commitment to a sustainable future."

The Headquarters and Innovation Center achieved LEED certification for energy use, lighting, water and material use as well as incorporation of a variety of other sustainable strategies. By using less energy and water, LEED certified buildings save money for families, businesses and taxpayers; reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and contribute to a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community.

"Hilmar Cheese Company's LEED certification demonstrates tremendous green building leadership," said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair, U.S. Green Building Council. "The urgency of USGBC's mission has challenged the industry to move faster and reach further than ever before, and this new Headquarters and Innovation Center serves as a prime example with just how much we can accomplish."

LEED certification is based on a number of green design and construction features that positively impact the project itself and the broader community. The Headquarters and Innovation Center features:

  • Heating, Ventilation, and Air Condition system is a closed-loop water cooling process utilizing one of the food processing water reclamation ponds to save energy.
  • Landscaping is irrigated with water reclaimed from food processing
  • Water conservation efforts achieves a total water usage level 50% below California-allowed baseline
  • Solar energy provides about 25% of overall building energy demand
  • Building design that maximizes the use of natural lighting with light fixtures which self-adjust based on daylight and occupant sensors for efficiency
  • Electric vehicle charging station, fuel efficient and vanpool parking, and bicycle security racks to reduce transportation energy
Innovation Center features
  • Applications Innovation Center with main sensory and presentation area and kitchen, which includes commercial equipment, testing, and sensory tools
  • Applications Development Plant, a state-of-the-art pilot plant with ultra high temperature (UHT) processing, Blentech, Groen Cooker, bar extruder and more
Headquarters features
  • ¼ mile walking path and patios
  • Comfort room for nursing mothers
  • 55,000 square feet of space
  • Office space for 200 employees
U.S. Green Building Council
The Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Green Building Council is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future for our nation through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. With a community comprising 80 local affiliates, more than 18,000 member companies and organizations, and more than 167,000 LEED Professional Credential holders, USGBC is the driving force of an industry that is projected to contribute $554 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product from 2009-2013. USGBC leads an unlikely diverse constituency of builders and environmentalists, corporations and nonprofit organizations, elected officials and concerned citizens, and teachers and students.

Buildings in the United States are responsible for 39% of CO2 emissions, 40% of energy consumption, 13% water consumption and 15% of GDP per year, making green building a source of significant economic and environmental opportunity. Greater building efficiency can meet 85% of future U.S. demand for energy, and a national commitment to green building has the potential to generate 2.5 million American jobs.

The U.S. Green Building Council's LEED green building certification system is the foremost program for the design, construction and operation of green buildings. Over 100,000 projects are currently participating in the LEED rating systems, comprising over 8 billion square feet of construction space in all 50 states and 114 countries. By using less energy, LEED-certified buildings save money for families, businesses and taxpayers; reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and contribute to a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community. USGBC was co-founded by current President and CEO Rick Fedrizzi, who spent 25 years as a Fortune 500 executive. Under his 15-year leadership, the organization has become the preeminent green building, membership, policy, standards, influential, education and research organization in the nation. For more information, visit www.usgbc.org.

Hilmar Cheese Company, Inc.
Hilmar Cheese Company Inc., founded in 1984, is a privately held corporation. More than 1,200 employees process high-quality cheese and whey ingredients from its facilities in California and Texas. Cheese customers include supermarkets, food service, and national brands; and whey ingredient customers include many of the world's food and beverage manufacturers. Operating within a framework of environmental sustainability, 100% of the water used is reclaimed for irrigation. The company improves the communities in which it operates through support of education, local activities, and food bank programs. From the shredded cheese in tacos to the whey protein and lactose in infant formula, Hilmar Cheese Company and its division, Hilmar Ingredients, deliver the promise of dairy to consumers around the world. www.hilmarcheese.com