Friday, October 26, 2007

Contessa unveils new ''Green Cuisine'' plant in L.A.

SEAFOOD.COM NEWS [PRNewswire] - October 25, 2007 - LOS ANGELES HARBOR, Calif., On October 18, Contessa Premium Foods offered a VIP sneak peek of its revolutionary Green Cuisine(TM) Plant, the world''s first and largest environmentally responsible, LEED-certified frozen-food manufacturing plant.

The tour was led by Contessa President and CEO John Z. Blazevich and company representatives.

Located in Los Angeles, the new plant - a 4-million-cubic-foot facility, costing more than $35 million, will produce up to 150 million pounds of product the first year alone. It will use advanced design and technology to significantly reduce Contessa's environmental impact. The facility, its processes, and the product manufactured there will be known as 'Green Cuisine.'

Among the envionmentally friendly features of the new plant are:

- A solar-power array that reduces carbon dioxide emissions by more than 730,000 pounds each year, producing an effect similar to conserving 276 acres of pine forest each year.

- A water preheating system that saves energy by redirecting the heat used in refrigeration coils to the plant''s boilers.

- Variable frequency drives that adjust the amount of power supplied to motors at specific times or under specific conditions to minimize energy use.

- An innovative loading dock that prevents the loss of refrigerated air, reducing temperature fluctuation - and energy use - in the loading dock area.

Along with setting out to surpass environmental expectations, there are several 'first-to-market' innovations Blazevich put into practice, such as the heat-redirection system that has never before been used in a temperature- controlled manufacturing plant. Typically, to keep refrigerator coils from freezing over, they are periodically injected with hot gas, which normally dissipates into the air. Contessa''s plant was designed to capture that gas and redirect it to a water storage tank, where it preheats the water stored there. Because the water is warmed before it reaches the boilers, the amount of energy needed to get the water up to the temperature required for a specific task, such as sanitation, is minimized.

In addition to using modernist systems and technology designed to reduce water and energy consumption and waste when the plant is in use, every effort was made to address environmental concerns during the building''s construction. For example, many of the building materials contained recycled content, and almost half the materials were sourced within 500 miles of the site to support the local economy and reduce the amount of fossil fuel consumed during transportation.

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