ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, NJ (March 5, 2010) – Following its core value of “caring for our communities and our environment,” Whole Foods Market’s newest store in New York City was recently awarded with a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), making it the first supermarket in New York City to earn such a distinction.

The store, located at 808 Columbus Avenue on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, opened August 27, 2009 and met rigorous building and energy efficiency standards during construction and its first six months in operation to receive the commendation. The store is the first of Whole Foods Market’s twenty locations in the Northeast region, which includes New York, Northern New Jersey and Southern Connecticut, to receive this certification. Overall, it is the company’s second LEED Gold store in the United States.

“We are extremely excited to be awarded the LEED Gold certification for our Upper West Side location,” said Tristam Coffin, Whole Foods Market’s green mission specialist in the Northeast region. “Minding the environment comes first and foremost in the design and building of our stores. This is the first of what we hope will be many LEED certifications for our Northeast locations.”

Whole Foods Market: Upper West Side earned credits for its LEED Gold certification from a variety of sustainable features throughout the pre- and post-construction phases of the store’s opening, including its choice to locate in an environmentally-conscious mixed-use development in order to support the Upper West Side neighborhood and community. Additionally, 34 percent of the materials used to build the store were purchased locally, significantly cutting down on waste and energy spent in the delivery of goods.

The development’s highlights include a vegetated roof and a photovoltaic installation. The store boasts water efficiency fixtures that allowed it to reduce water usage by more than 45 percent from the calculated baseline design fixture performance requirements established by the Energy Policy Act of 1992. More than a 25 percent reduction in lighting power density was achieved over that allowed by the ASHRAE/IESNA 90.1 2004. A company-wide landmark purchase of 776 million-kilowatt-hours of renewable energy credits (RECs) from wind farms in 2009 the project also earned credits in green power.

More than 10 percent of the materials used in the construction of the store were made from recycled content. Moreover, 75 percent of all the construction waste from the project was recycled rather than being placed in a landfill or incinerated. Low-emitting materials from paints and adhesives to furniture and composite boards were used in the project and living décor, including a large green wall in the store’s café, added to the improvement of air quality throughout the store. Furthermore, a thorough flush-out of the building was conducted to ensure the indoor environmental quality of the building was ideal for occupants – customers and Team Members alike.

According to the USGBC, commercial buildings in the United States consume exuberant amounts of energy and resources – more than 30 percent of the nation’s total energy and 60 percent of our electricity annually. Flushing toilets, alone, consume more than five billion gallons of potable water every day. Moreover, an average North American commercial construction project generates upwards to 2.5 pounds of solid waste per square foot of floor space. By building green, to the USGBCs standards, we are helping to reduce the impact and benefit the health of our environment, just as we do with the products we sell, and the communities we support.