Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mars Chocolate Headquarters First Private Sector LEED Commercial Interiors Gold Facility in New Jersey

HACKETTSTOWN, N.J., Sept. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Mars Chocolate North America announced today that its corporate headquarters facility located in Hackettstown, New Jersey, is the first private sector Commercial Interiors project in New Jersey  to receive LEED Gold Certification—an internationally accepted benchmark for designing, constructing and operating green buildings—from the U.S. Green Building Council. The office is also the first existing Mars site globally to achieve this designation.

LEED Gold certification is the culmination of months of work to incorporate more than 30 Green Building strategies into the renovation of the 100,000 square foot office facility. Enhancements include the installation of water-conserving fixtures that reduce water usage by more than 30 percent; a reduction in energy use by 15 percent through the use of a newly upgraded Building Energy Management System, variable frequency drives and energy-efficient lighting and controls; an upgraded roof utilizing a highly reflective roofing material that reduces heat gain to the building; the utilization of more than 20 percent recycled content in materials, from carpet to ceiling tiles; and the installation of bike racks and preferred parking for carpools/vanpools.

"The achievement of LEED Gold certification at the Mars Chocolate North America headquarters is a tremendous achievement and a testament to Mars' commitment to the environment and to the communities in which we conduct business," said Todd Lachman, president of Mars Chocolate North America. "This accomplishment joins a host of others that comprise our larger sustainability strategy focused on sourcing, operations and our brands."

LEED certification of the Hackettstown corporate headquarters follows closely on the heels of the site's November 2009 opening of the largest ground-based solar facility installed in New Jersey. The solar garden is comprised of more than 28,000 ground-mounted solar panels on 18 acres adjacent to Mars Chocolate North America's headquarters, where more than 1,200 associates work and M&M'S® Brand Chocolate Candies are manufactured. The solar garden provides 2 MW of power during peak hours, which is equivalent to approximately 20 percent of the plant's peak energy consumption.  It reduces carbon dioxide emissions by more than 1,000 metric tons, equivalent to removing 190 vehicles from the road each year.

Mars Chocolate North America's commitment to sustainability extends beyond its New Jersey headquarters.  The company's Waco, Texas, manufacturing plant was recognized by the federal Environmental Protection Agency for its use of methane gas from the local landfill to replace 60 percent of the site's natural gas usage. Several of the company's manufacturing facilities also recycle 95 percent of their waste, significantly reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill.