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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Patagonia: A Sustainable Sportswear Company

"Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis," reads the mission statement of sportswear clothing company, Patagonia. The Ventura, California based company makes sportswear from "environmentally sensitive materials" such as organic cotton and hemp. To date, Patagonia has given $34 million to environmental organizations.

Patagonia completed construction earlier this year on a 171,000 square foot LEED Gold-certified addition to its Reno, NV distribution center. The addition contains a modular conveyor system which uses 30 percent less energy and increases operational efficiency by 20 percent. The addition is heated with a radiant heating system, which uses copper tubes filled with hot water. 

In constructing the addition, Patagonia went beyond the LEED Gold-certification requirements:
  • Used 100 percent light-colored concrete instead of asphalt in parking lot and driveways. LEED requires 30 percent to be certified.
  • Uses 40 percent less water by installing water efficient toilets, waterless urinals, and bathroom faucets that automatically turn off. (LEED requires 30 percent.
  • Fifty percent of the materials used to construct addition were manufactured within a 500 mile radius. LEED requires 20 percent.
  • All the wood used was Forest Stewardship Council (FCS) certified. LEED requires 50 percent.
“Whether we're designing a new product, sourcing contract manufacturing sites, or building a new distribution center, everything we do goes back to the mission statement,” said Dave Abeloe, director of the Reno facility. “We ask ourselves: 'What are we trying to accomplish with this project, and how can we do that while adhering to our values?'”

Watch the video about Patagonia's addition to its distribution center:

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