In a dedication ceremony April 8, Hilmar Cheese Company, Inc. announced its new Headquarters and Innovation Center in Hilmar, California was awarded LEED® Platinum certification established by the U.S. Green Building Council and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI). LEED is the nation’s preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.
Richard Clauss, chairman of the Hilmar Cheese Company board of directors, opened the dedication explaining, “LEED demonstrates our continuing commitment to stewardship and sustainability. Our owners and employees live here and we strive to do what is right – for our employees, the dairy farmers that supply us milk, the community and our natural resources.”
Core to the new Headquarters is the Innovation Center with the latest pilot plant and food application equipment. The Innovation Center is focused on delivering greater service and knowledge to U.S. and global customers. Food scientists use the newest equipment and technology to help food companies find success incorporating dairy into healthy foods and beverages.
“We appreciate Hilmar Cheese Company’s commitment to California and applaud the company for showing the way with environmentally-friendly construction,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross who helped unveil the award. “This facility is well equipped to compete in a 21st Century that presents the ultimate challenge of feeding a fast growing world population while minimizing our environmental footprint.”
The Headquarters and Innovation Center is the first privately-funded LEED Platinum certified building in Merced County and one of just a few in the Central Valley.
“As far as we know, it is also the first dairy industry LEED Platinum certified building in the United States,” commented David Ahlem, Hilmar Cheese Company Vice President and General Manager - Cheese.
“This award is a testament to the innovative benchmarks being achieved by our businesses right here in Merced County,” Merced County Supervisor Deidre Kelsey said. “Hilmar Cheese Company’s efforts to conserve water, save energy and reduce resource use are also focal points of the Board of Supervisors, and I appreciate them taking the initiative to make Merced County a better place to live, work and do business.”
“Hilmar Cheese Company’s new LEED Platinum certified building displays their commitment to innovation, and I am pleased to see the center bring new technical jobs to the Central Valley,” commented Representative Jeff Denham.