Testa Produce Green Building

Testa Produce opens new green distribution center
June 30, 2011

Testa Produce is using solar power in its environmentally friendly structure.

Independent wholesale produce distributor Testa Produce Inc. recently opened a new 91, 000 square-foot, $20-million distribution center in the Chicago Stockyards Industrial Park at 4555 S. Racine Ave.

The owners and builders worked to put the facility on track to become the nation’s first food service distribution facility to gain LEED platinum certification, the highest rating available from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The facility incorporates multiple advanced sustainable and green features, including Chicago’s first free standing 238-foot, 750-kilowatt wind turbine; 100% solar heated hot water; a 45, 000-square foot barreled vegetated roof; a sophisticated rainwater reclamation system, including bio swales to capture runoff, a 5, 000-gallon internal cistern, and a 765, 000-gallon detention pond; 180 solar panels located on the roof, dock, and pole mounted solar trees in the parking lot; light-emitting diode lighting in offices, the freezer, outdoor fixtures, and dock areas; and an extensive recycling program and use of recycled and reused building materials.

“Four and a half years were spent designing and building this building, ” said Peter Testa, president and CEO of Testa Produce. “There were times we didn’t think we were going to get it done. There were times when I had a little doubt. But all doubts are now erased. We’re very proud of this.”

The new facility is LEED platinum certified, including a 750-kilowatt wind turbine.

Individuals on hand for the recent ribbon cutting included Cook County Commissioner John Daley (11th District); Alderman James Balcer (11th Ward); City Commissioner of Housing and Economic Development Andy Mooney; City Commissioner of the Department of Business Affairs & Consumer Protection Norma Reyes; President of the Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council Craig Chico; and Senior Vice President of MB Financial Mark Heckler.

“It seems appropriate that Testa Produce, a company rich in Chicago history and tradition, chose to open this facility in the heart of the former historic Union Stockyards, ” Mooney said. “Not only will this project serve to revitalize a long vacant and blighted parcel, it will serve as a new standard bearer for environmentally sensitive design by incorporating countless sustainable components, not the least of which is the wind turbine, the first of its kind in Chicago. We’re delighted to see this kind of cutting edge facility open here.”

Epstein architects designed the new center, Summit Design + Build served as construction manager, WBS Equities served as project consultant, and MB Financial provided construction and financing. All are based in Chicago.

Founded in 1912, Testa Produce, a family business, offers domestic, local, organic, sustainable, and imported fresh produce and delivers frozen, canned, and specialty foods to restaurants, hotels, and institutions throughout Illinois and Wisconsin.


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Q&A

avatar
What percentage of the total amount of green house gases produced in the U.S. do buildings contribute?

i.e buildings contribute X% of the total amount of U.S. greenhouse gas production

All greenhouse gases are not bad! Maybe 8 percent come from buildings??
I guess we could all live in "living" tree houses and grow our own food and go back to the 12th century! Wait a minute in the "olden days" human beings had to burn wood to heat their homes (or freeze to death) and the air was dirtier!
The U.S. has more trees growing today than a thousand years ago! This is because human beings plant and nurture trees! Perhaps there is an offset that is overlooked! Human beings put out forest fires - hundreds of years ago forest fires would burn out of control, sometimes for years…