As the refrigerated and frozen food industry embraces sustainability and LEED certification, design and construction firms are keeping pace with in-house services devoted to achieving those goals. LEED – Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – is a green building certification program used worldwide.
LEED certification wasn’t always an option for this type of facility, but changes to the process have opened the door to cold storage facilities earning every level of LEED certification.
Primus Builders worked with the International Association of Refrigerated Warehouses (IARW) to encourage the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) to update the energy modeling and ventilation requirements for refrigerated facilities. That work led to LEED Interpretations #10423 and #10424.
Before the interpretations were issued, energy modelers had a difficult time creating a valid baseline model for cold storage buildings because they only had standards from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) to reference; but those standards don’t address cold storage spaces. The LEED Interpretations allow modelers to reference cold-storage specific guidelines from IARW to create a better baseline model and more accurately project energy savings.
The interpretations also addressed ventilation requirements. Previously, cold storage facilities were held to the same ventilation requirements as all other buildings. However, introducing outdoor air to refrigerated spaces creates a condensation issue that is not good building practice. Once the USGBC understood the consequences of introducing outdoor air to these building types, they agreed that freezer spaces should not be held to the same ventilation requirements.