AUSTIN, Texas (September 28, 2005). Whole Foods Market, the world's leading natural and organic foods supermarket, announces it has received LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver Certification for its new Sarasota store by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).

The Sarasota store, opened December 8, 2004, is located in downtown Sarasota, Florida, at First Street and Lemon Avenue. Whole Foods Market is known for its high quality standards combined with outstanding customer service. The Sarasota store provides an unequaled shopping experience in a first-ever environmentally-friendly supermarket that was designed based on the LEED Green Building Rating System.® The USGBC's LEED certification follows a rigorous registration process. Of nearly 2,000 applications received since the inception of the LEED program in 2000, just 300 buildings worldwide have been awarded certification. Whole Foods Market Sarasota is the sixth building in Florida to receive LEED certification.

The USGBC, who promotes buildings that are environmentally responsible and healthy places to live and work, established the LEED rating system to provide guidelines and ideas for improved, more environmentally conscious construction and development. LEED is a voluntary, consensus-based national standard for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings.

“In short, this LEED certified supermarket responds to a global need-the necessity for our planet's buildings to be built in tandem with the environment,” said Rick Fedrizzi, USGBC, President, CEO & Founding Chair. “The Sarasota Whole Foods Market is to be congratulated for the certification in that it will enhance our environment and serve as a model for other supermarkets.”

To receive LEED Silver Certification, the project must satisfy all of the prerequisites and earn a minimum number of points to attain a specific LEED rating level.

Several of the key LEED elements of the Sarasota Whole Foods Market building include:

  • A water treatment system designed to capture two-thirds of the roof water, which is filtered back into the building and used for all cleaning purposes
  • Recycled materials throughout
  • Non-toxic, environmentally friendly public art work
  • Monitoring systems to provide continuous energy performance data for annual analysis
  • A building R-value (insulation level) surpassing the minimum standard
  • A high-tech, highly reflective, white, energy saving roof system
  • Skylights throughout to provide maximum daylight
  • High performance mechanical and electrical systems
  • Non-toxic, low odor paint

“We are very honored to receive LEED Silver Certification from the USGBC for our Whole Foods Market store in Sarasota,” said Juan Nunez, Florida Regional President. “One of our company core values states 'We care about our communities and our environment.' I think the environmentally conscious, LEED-certified store is a perfect example of Whole Foods Market putting that core value into action in Sarasota.”

For more information about the LEED Green Building Rating System, visit