AUSTIN, MINN. — Hormel Foods Corporation’s Progressive Processing LLC production facility in Dubuque, Iowa was awarded LEED Gold. As a result, it has become one of the first U.S. manufacturing plants to be a LEED-certified project at any level. LEED is a registered trademark of the U.S. Green Building Council (U.S.G.B.C.).

Progressive Processing, which opened on Jan. 25, 2010, currently produces Hormel Compleats microwave meals plus Hormel and Valley Fresh chunk chicken. It spans 348,000 sq. ft. and is anticipated to cost $89 million when complete.

According to the Washington, D.C.-based U.S.G.B.C., it is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future for the U.S. through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. Consisting of 80 local affiliates, more than 18,000 member companies and organizations and more than 155,000 LEED Professional Credential holders, U.S.G.B.C. is the driving force of an industry that is projected to contribute $554 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product from 2009-2013, states a news release.

U.S.G.B.C.’s LEED green building certification system is the foremost program for the design, construction and operation of green buildings, Hormel relays. More than 32,000 projects are currently participating in the commercial and institutional LEED rating systems, comprising more than 9.6 billion sq. ft. of construction space in all 50 states and 114 countries.

Progressive Processing will use at least 25% less energy and water than a plant built to meet current building codes and industry standards. It was also constructed using materials with more than 36% recycled content.

Highlights of Progessive Processing’s sustainable plant design and construction include:

  • A sustainable site, including non-irrigated landscaping, developed with native, low-maintenance vegetation.
  • Lighting controls that monitor the amount of light needed based on daylight, occupancy and time schedule. Similar monitoring is used for temperature control, using sensors to identify room occupancy and determine the heating or cooling need.
  • Non-refrigerated areas of the plant use skylights and multilevel lighting to provide natural light and reduce energy consumption.
  • Sophisticated heat and water recovery processes. For example, as part of the boiler system, heat from blowdown water is recovered and the water is captured and reused for flushing toilets.

"We are very proud of the fact that Progressive Processing is LEED Gold certified, which sets a new standard for the food industry," said Jeffrey Ettinger, Hormel’s chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer. "When we decided to open Progressive Processing, we saw an opportunity to build a state-of-the-art sustainable facility that aligns with our strong commitment to corporate responsibility."