Sirna & Sons Produce opened the doors to its newly expanded, state-of-the-art cold storage and packing facility in Ravenna, Ohio. 

Sirna & Sons installed a 453-kilowatt solar-electric power system on the rooftop of the modern, 50,000-square-foot produce cooling, packing and distribution facility, newly built at its Ravenna headquarters.

“We are completely committed to achieving constant improvement in our environmental performance, and our expansion offered us a great opportunity,” says Tom Sirna, president.

By producing its own clean power with sunlight, the company will cut its electricity costs by more than $45,000 this year and is projected to save $1.5 million in electricity costs, while sidestepping 25 million pounds of power-plant CO2 emissions.

By converting sunlight directly into usable power – about 500,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year – Sirna & Sons is also reducing its annual carbon footprint by about 450 tons, according to Al Frasz, president of Dovetail Solar and Wind, the Athens, Ohio-based company that designed and installed the solar-electric system.

“We’re seeing that more and more of our customers are concerned about environmental performance,” says Sirna. “And, not only their own, but that of their suppliers, too. Now the restaurants, foodservice and supermarkets we serve can assure their consumers that clean solar power plays a big part in supplying their fruits and vegetables. We’re all very excited about using sunshine to help power our new facility.”

In the company’s lobby, visitors see a live screen view of their solar system’s activity, depicting in real time, the system’s accumulating environmental benefits.

Sirna & Sons also installed energy-conserving LED lighting and motion sensors throughout the new facility, which are in use 24/7. 

In constructing the new facility, Sirna & Sons used a recyclable composite siding inside and out. The TruGrain siding material, which resembles fine wood, is made with 25% rice husks, an agricultural waste byproduct. 

All outside and interior doors are locked at all times and can only be opened with security keypads by those employees with clearance. For all inbound produce deliveries, the expansion is home to a dedicated lane, security gate, call box and surveillance camera. Drivers delivering fresh produce must speak with someone in receiving before pulling into a secured dock.  

In memory of Sirna’s late mother, Christine Sirna, the company also established “Christine’s Cuts,” as a separate woman-owned, fresh-cut produce business and added a dedicated 6,000-square-foot processing facility on site. The new fresh-cut facility is certified in the Global Food Safety Initiative by PrimusGFS and as Kosher.