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Metz Goes Green in Erie District

Metz Goes Green in Erie District

New central kitchen incorporates numerous environmentally friendly features.

Metz Goes Green in Erie District
Metz Goes Green in Erie District
Metz Goes Green in Erie District

LEAN AND GREEN. The new central kitchen operation for Erie (PA) Schools was designed with ecology in mind, from the use of environmentally friendly refrigerants to actively heated cabinets for hot food transport and a fleet of four new refrigerated trucks.

The new $4.5 million central kitchen for the Erie (PA) School District, expected to open with the new school term in January, is quite a green place, thanks to some expert input from the district's dining services provider, Metz & Associates.

Planning for the project began in 2005 when Metz Assistant Manager Bill Marshall outlined strategy for re-inventing the department that included drawings of a building footprint that Metz felt better suited the district's needs. After approval by the Board of Education and district administrators, Metz worked with local architectural and engineering firms to determine “green” features that could create the largest environmental and economic impact (some are noted in the box below).

Cafeteria program earnings will fund this entire project, and the new building also includes a 1,200 sq.ft. instructional lab that will be available for use by the Erie City Vo-Tech Culinary Arts program.

Metz estimates it will produce some 30,000 lunches and 15,000 breakfast meals each week in the facility. All prepared hot foods will be packed and shipped in actively-heated food cabinets. Chilled delivery will be on four new refrigerated trucks, which have been purchased in conjunction with this project. The trucks feature lift gates, back up cameras and cargo restraints.

In addition, the district has received a $115,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Dept. of Education to purchase 13 new energy-efficient dishwashers for the elementary and middle schools. Once installed, they will eliminate the need for nearly 1.2 million disposable meal trays, not only saving substantial recurring costs but dramatically reducing waste. Most recently, a local Erie County grower donated 8 apple trees, which were planted on site by high school horticulture students. The students are also building raised flower beds for herbs & vegetables for the facility.

Site Location

  • Classified as a brownfield site.
  • Site is one block from 2 public transportation routes, allowing employees to travel to and from work via public transportation.
  • Bike storage rack and employee showers will help encourage biking to work.
  • 5% of parking lot specially designated for energy efficient vehicles.
  • Parking lot constructed from light colored concrete & pervious pavers to reduce heat island effect.
  • Sites stormwater to be managed on site.
  • Specially designed site lighting will minimize amount of light pollution.

Water Efficiency

  • Landscaping designed to use local plants that require no irrigation system.
  • Dual flush water closets, low flush urinals & sensor-operated faucets will minimize amount of wastewater.

Materials & Resources

  • Several on-site recycling collection centers.
  • Recycled materials incorporated into the design include carpeting, vinyl base, countertops, sheet flooring, cabinetry, etc.
  • Use of regional materials, including steel from local foundries.
  • Use of insulating concrete walls to provide the maximum in energy efficiency and building thermal design.
  • Use of light colored rubber roofing to reduce the heat island effect.
  • Use of environmentally friendly refrigerants in building components and other refrigerating equipment.

Indoor Environmental

  • Smoke free facility
  • All building materials specified as “low voc” and “low emission”
  • Plumbing designed to capture grease and other contaminants.
  • Building design calls for northern facing windows & skylights to permit maximum natural lighting with least possible heat gain.
  • HVAC system features most energy efficient materials & systems available.
  • Radiant floor heating.
  • Energy recovery program.
  • Lighting designed with occupancy sensors and daylight sensing.
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