Wind power generates 100% of the electricity used at Canidae's plant near Woodward, Oklahoma, USA, where the company manufactures Snap-Biscuits and Snap-Bits dog treats.
When our industry looks back at 2009, we might consider it
the year of the greening of petfood, at least in the US. This
year has seen the opening of several new or retrofitted US
facilities-plants and office buildings, for manufacturers and
suppliers-designed to be more environmentally friendly. Some
have even earned Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design
(LEED) certification from the US Green Building Council (
Why the seeming boom in sustainable construction? While
their green facilities build good will with communities and
customers, these companies are not acting solely to get good PR
or help save our planet. Rather, they're learning an equation
already discovered by other organizations and in other parts of
the world: green = green.
In other words, the sustainable features of these buildings
make good business sense, too, especially in a troubled
economy. Besides saving on energy usage and waste removal, such
facilities are more efficient overall and are often eligible
for tax credits or grants as governments encourage use of more
sustainable energy sources.
The buildings shown here are not intended to be a complete
list of sustainable facilities; we realize more are out there
or being planned for the near future. If you know of others,
please post information at
Canidae: the answer is blowin' in the
On the wide flat plains in the center of the US, nearly
constant wind turns 34 massive turbines comprising the Oklahoma
Wind Energy Center (in Woodward). The power generated-50
megawatts at peak capacity-supplies 100% of the electricity for
the plant where Canidae Pet Food manufacturers its all-natural
Snap-Biscuits and Snap-Bits dog treats.
Canidae says it saves about 1 pound of coal for every
kilowatt-hour generated by wind. Besides this eco-friendly
design, the state-of-the-art plant also employs many safety
features. "Our commitment to petfood safety in this
wind-powered facility takes the form of an in-house hi-tech
laboratory where safety and nutritional tests are conducted
daily on both incoming ingredients and finished goods," says
Jason Castillo, company controller.
The plant is also designed to support the local community by
offering much needed jobs, Canidae says.
for more information.
Cardinal: off the grid
At the end of October, Cardinal Laboratories' manufacturing
and distribution center in Azusa, California, USA, converted
completely to solar power to manufacture its pet care products,
including dog food and treats. The company claims to have not
only the first completely solar-powered production facility in
that city but also the first in the US pet industry.
Working with the Solar Partnership Program of the City of
Azusa, Cardinal is now harvesting so much power from its solar
collection system-a white roof with 320 solar panels covering
5,440 square feet-that it is sending electricity back to its
local utility and was able to install air conditioning for the
first time, via a state-of-the-art, optimal efficiency air
control system. Other energy-independent features include more
efficient machines, new prismatic units to replace skylights
and sensors to turn off lights when an area is vacated.
All this comprised phase one of Cardinal's energy
independence initiative. Phase two, which just started, will
convert its dog food and treat distribution center, two miles
away in Baldwin Park, California, to solar power. Phase three
involves construction of a 70,000-square-foot distribution
center next to the manufacturing facility that will be powered
by geothermal and solar and is designed to meet USGBC
Cardinal president Tony De Vos believes that despite the
current economy, these changes are not only good business moves
but also the socially responsible thing to do. "Looking at our
environment from the big picture point of view, taking steps to
get off the power grid and reduce our carbon footprint makes
sense for our company, our world and future generations," he
Read more about Cardinal's green movement.
Mars: LEED certified in Arkansas
Mars Petcare US has made strides for several years now to
reduce its impact on the environment: expanding its plant
recycling systems, modifying packaging from paper to woven
polypropylene and significantly reducing its solid waste, the
"Just a few of the steps we've taken with our petcare
business in the last few years have resulted in the elimination
of 4,500 tons of packaging per year and 2,300 tons of carbon
dioxide emissions," adds Kevin Rabinovitch, global
sustainability director for Mars Inc.
But this year the company topped itself with its new plant
in Fort Smith, Arkansas, USA, opened at the end of September.
The US$80 million, 305,000-square-foot facility earned LEED
gold certification, a first for the company-and, Mars says,
it's the first sustainable manufacturing facility in Arkansas
and the first sustainable petfood plant in the world.
Cardinal Laboratories' plant in Azusa City, California, USA, is now powered completely by solar energy. Inside, a state-of-the-art system controls air flow with optimal efficiency.
Using grants and other incentives from the state of Arkansas
and the city of Fort Smith, Mars built the plant with water
recycling and energy reduction programs as well as mechanisms
to protect against erosion and light pollution. Plant manager
Chris Hunter says the company will also work toward an
operational LEED certification once it has been open longer
than a year.
The facility is manufacturing Mars' Cesar Canine Cuisine
line for small dogs.
Natura: eco-friendly office in the
Perhaps it's no surprise that a company called Natura--with
brands of petfood such as California Natural, Karma and Mother
Nature--would invest in a green building. That's exactly what it
did with its new office in Davis, California, USA, opened in
April. Environmentally friendly elements include:
• Pre-wiring for future solar panel usage;
• Energy Star-rated equipment (a
• Bike racks to encourage employees to commute by bicycle;
• Low-emissivity windows to allow for natural lighting;
• Operable window to allow for fresh air and natural
• Motion sensors to automatically turn off lighting when
not in use;
• Water conserving features such as drip irrigation and a
bioswell for runoff water; and
• A video conferencing system between this office and the
company's plant in Nebraska, to reduce employee air travel.
"The new facility allows us to create an enhanced workplace
for our nutritionist team while also reinforcing our commitment
to sustainable business practices," says Natura Pet Products
CEO Peter Atkins, whose office is also in the new building.
Other steps the company has taken to reduce its carbon
footprint include changing to recyclable packaging for its
Karma organic dog food, switching to hybrid cars for corporate
and sales teams, reducing paper consumption by moving most
internal communications online and using 100% post consumer
waste paper and vegetable-based inks for printed marketing
Nestlé Purina: power from the
In May, Nestlé Purina PetCare celebrated the installation of
a pilot solar energy array on its plant in Denver, Colorado,
USA. The 467-panel, 100-kilowatt photovoltaic system, covering
21,000 square feet of the plant's roof, made the company the
first manufacturer to use renewable energy to produce petfood,
according to Nestlé Purina.
Though the system will provide only 1% of the facility's
electricity needs, the local utility would emit nearly 300,000
pounds of carbon dioxide per year to produce the same amount of
electricity, according to Nestlé Purina. (That amount of
emissions is equivalent to what 23 cars would emit
"Nestlé Purina has taken many steps toward achieving our
goal of becoming the leader in environmental sustainability in
the petfood industry," said Mark Burns, vice president and
director of manufacturing.
"Utilizing renewable energy at our manufacturing facilities
is just one part of our overall company plan to create shared
value for society, which means going beyond compliance and
sustainability and really making a difference for the
The new system in Denver, which was supported by the
Colorado government and is the state's largest privately owned
solar array, is just the latest effort by the company to
increase energy efficiency; it says that between 1998 and 2008,
it reduced energy usage at its nine dry petfood plants by about
20% per ton of product produced. In addition, the company
employs a person at each of its US plants who is responsible
for environmental and energy management.
Next up are solar arrays for two other Nestlé Purina
plants-in Flagstaff, Arizona, and Maricopa, California-one of
which will be twice as large as the system in Denver. All these
renewable energy systems will help the company work toward its
global corporate goal of improving energy efficiency by 2% this
Novus: going platinum
Platinum certification is the highest LEED level awarded,
and it's been achieved by fewer than 100 buildings in the US.
One is the new global headquarters of Novus International, a
supplier of animal (and now human) health and nutrition
products, based in St. Charles, Missouri, USA.
Opened in June, the US$20 million, 20,000-square-foot
building encompasses open office space, the company's research
center (including 10 laboratories), a state-of-the-art employee
and customer training center, plus a complementary fitness
center and cafeteria (offering nutritionally balanced lunches)
"Our business is the creation of sustainable programs that
enable health through nutrition for people and animals," says
Thad Simons, president and CEO. "Through the construction of
this facility and earning our LEED platinum certification, we
are sending a message to the world regarding our sustainable
efforts, while achieving a superior work environment and
reducing our operating costs."
The building's sustainable features include:
• The largest array of solar panels in Missouri (5,000
• 100% of energy purchased through renewable energy
• 10% of materials from salvaged sources;
• 30% of materials from recycled content, such as
countertops made from recycled milk jugs and scrap aluminum and
the fitness center floor made from recycled tires;
• A state-of-the-art, under-floor air distribution system
for high energy efficiency;
• Landscaping with native grasses and plants requiring no
irrigation, thus saving thousands of gallons of water each
• A framework to grow a plant "canopy" for natural
• A storm water system to reduce runoff;
• Skylights and floor-to-ceiling windows to maximize use
of natural light; and
• Preferred parking for low emission and fuel efficient
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