Whirlpool Regional Distribution Center

File Type: Free Content, Case study
Release Date: January 2010
Average Rating:       (0 Ratings)
Whirlpool building in Columus Ohio

Fast Facts

Address: Columbus, Ohio
Company/Developer: The Pizzuti Companies
Project Specs: Build-to-suit
Project Type: Warehouse/Distribution
Square Feet: 1.6 million square feet

Project History: Project ‘Zenith’ is the spearhead of Whirlpool’s efforts to apply sustainable practices to their U.S. logistical network. As part of this program, the Whirlpool Corporation selected Pizzuti to construct and leaseback a distribution center in the Rickenbacker West Industrial park. This facility was awarded LEED Certification and is among the 10 largest LEED certified distribution centers in the U.S. Community groups and the city of Columbus were very instrumental in the development of this project. The Columbus Department of Development used economic incentives and creative structuring to gain approval and permits in order to meet the project schedule. Pizzuti worked closely alongside community groups to gain support that allowed for the creation and acquisition of green space at a key intersection and visible area.

Commitment to Sustainability

Pizzuti has shifted its focus across every aspect of the business, using breakthrough thinking and recycled materials. We assess every development plan for sustainability and rely on a staff of LEED accredited professionals. We use recycled paper and reuse the materials we can (and recycle what we can’t). We recycle all construction waste and were recognized for instituting an office recycling program that saved the equivalent of 39 trees in a calendar year. We install high-efficiency energy management equipment and cooling equipment to reduce energy use. We use indigenous plants for landscaping. Our management team communicates with developers and construction managers to make sure our environmental ideas stand the test of time. Our design team looks to the management and construction teams for tips that will increase efficiency on new projects.

Green Features

Economic Analysis

  • This building was completed on a pre-arranged fee development. Whirlpool Corporation had a long term investor lined up to lease the property back to Whirlpool. The building is a financial success for everyone involved. Pizzuti earned an appropriate fee. Whirlpool is occupying an efficient and cost-effective facility and the investor is enjoying an appropriate return on their capital investment.
  • As a $65 million project, the Whirlpool Distribution Center increased the tax base of the community. Tax incentives were provided by the state of Ohio and the city of Columbus. The project also initiated significant improvements to regional infrastructure in the growing logistics corridor. As part of this project, funds were available to widen existing roads, improve intersections and extend water and sanitary lines. Two hundred new jobs were created and 70 more were transferred from another Whirlpool facility in Ohio. 
aerial view of Whirlpool building Columus Ohio

Site Sustainability/Materials Use

  • The general contractor established a comprehensive construction waste management plan resulting in nearly 75 percent total waste diverted from the landfill. Wood was shredded and used as mulch/landscaping onsite or broken down at the landfill and used as an alternate fuel source. Metals were scrapped and recycled. Paper, cardboard and plastic products were recycled. Excess concrete and concrete wash, the largest quantity of materials diverted, was crushed into aggregate and reused as subgrade for roadways on site.
  • Materials containing recycled content and regional materials extracted and manufactured within 500 miles of the building were used whenever possible. Over 46 percent of the construction materials used met the regional materials criteria. Nearly 60 percent of the wood used was Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified.
  • Low emitting materials were used in an effort to reduce the quantity of indoor air contaminants harmful to the team and provide a healthier work environment during construction and final occupancy. Low emitting adhesives and sealants, paints and coatings, carpet systems, and composite wood and agrifiber products were used. The project achieved all low-emitting material credits available in the LEED for New Construction rating system.
  • In addition to truck transit, the distribution center is able to connect to railcar service. Whirlpool reaches agreements with those who work with them about considering the environment as a priority through programs such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay® Transport programs. The consideration of supply chain and operational impacts on sustainability during the design and construction process contributes to making any distribution center truly sustainable over the long term.
  • Pizzuti mitigated the wetlands site on the parcel and obtained the necessary permits from the Corp of Engineers. The detention ponds on the western side of the facility detain incoming sediment and pollutants through a controlled release rate of runoff. The site uses a no-mow turf grass requiring little to no irrigation. Over 50 percent of the irrigation is drawn from the storm water detention pond.

Energy Efficiency

  • White TPO membrane with an SRI value of nearly 110 were installed across the 1.6 million-square-foot roof to provide a highly reflective surface and reduce heat island effect. The high reflectance factor of 0.87 indicates the ability of the roof membrane to reflect a substantial amount of solar energy back to the sky during the day while an emittance factor of 0.95 shows that the roof will quickly release any heat absorbed from solar energy.
  • Installation of highly efficient fluorescent interior and exterior lighting, electric space heating, pump usage and heat rejection, as well as lighting control measures such as task lighting and switches with occupancy sensor overrides significantly reduces energy use. The interior lighting power consumption was over 61 percent less than the ASHRAE 90.1 baseline and the exterior lighting power consumption was greater than 90 percent less than the baseline. An improved envelope U-value also contributed to the overall energy cost savings of 23.9 percent compared to the ASHRAE 90.1 baseline.
Whirlpool warehouse in Columbus Ohio

Water Efficiency

  • Storm water is collected and treated onsite in order to limit disruption and pollution of natural water flows and remove pollutants from runoff from impervious areas. The onsite stormwater management structures reduce the total suspended solids content of 90 percent of the stormwater leaving the site by 80 percent. In addition, the detention basin is designed as a wet basin, allowing the irrigation system to draw captured stormwater in lieu of potable water from the city supply. This strategy, combined with an indigenous landscape design, resulted in a reduction in potable water use of 67 percent compared to standard buildings in the local market.
  • In addition to reduced exterior water use, several efforts were made to reduce interior water use. The restrooms are equipped with dual-flush valves for the toilets and high efficiency low-flow urinals. Faucets in the facility also are ultra low-flow. The performance of these fixtures should result in more than a 40 percent reduction in annual water savings.


  • Major design considerations and innovative solutions that contributed to the sustainability and positive environmental impact of this development include: parking that reserves space for and encourages the use of low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles, storm water impact reduction design, use of roofing materials that reduce heat island effect, fixtures that reduce water consumption by 40 percent, R410a refrigerant in the HVAC system to reduce environmental impact (due to the non-chlorine, non-Ozone Depleting Potential composition), use of regional materials to reduce the environmental impact associated with material transport, the use of Forest Stewardship Council certified wood, and the use of low VOC emitting paints, carpets, adhesives/sealants, and wood and agrifiber products.
  • An innovation credit was earned for an educational plan which includes signage and guided tours within the facility, along with this case study to be published and made available to all interested parties.