Delhi sweet potato plant receives international award - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Delhi sweet potato plant receives international award

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by Meg Smith

DELHI, La. (KNOE 8 News)--The sweet potato plant in Delhi received a notable distinction Thursday. The plant has attained platinum status in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design" - or "LEED" - from the U.S. Green Building Council. The plant is one of the top five greenest manufacturing plants in the world.

The 275 people at the sweet potato plant in Delhi work hard to make products that are going through one of the most environmentally friendly processes in the world.

"When you continue to do the right things and commit to efficiency, that has a tremendous impact on the local environment as well," said Greg Coates with the U.S. Green Building Council's Louisiana chapter.

The plant received an award from the U.S. Green Building Council, a non-profit group recognized around the world for setting the standard for responsible building practices.

The council has a long list of items in the Delhi plant considered green technology, including state-of-the art, energy saving equipment.

"One of my favorite aspects about this plant is that the equipment saves about 40% of energy that a regular plant would use," Coates said.

The plant also uses a sophisticated wastewater treatment process. Annual water savings are projected to be 60% over standard technology. Company leaders say this not only helps the environment, but also saves money.

"Making sure we can operate efficiently for the future," said Rick Martin, VP of Manufacturing for Conagra Foods. "There are energy savings associated with some of the things we've done, and we think that will make us competitive for the long term in Louisiana."

There are only five LEED certified facilities in the world. 2 of those are in the U.S., and 1 of those is in Delhi. This is also the first frozen food manufacturing facility to receive the award.

Sen. Francis Thompson, (D) Delhi, believes the award will spur economic development. He hopes other companies will see what's going on in Delhi and set up shop here.

"This is going to be a drawing card for industries to look at northeast Louisiana," Sen. Thompson said.

"If this product continues to take off, this plant was built with the ability to expand and add to the products produced here," Martin said.

Even from the beginning, the company was thinking green. Nearly 90% of construction debris was recycled.

For more information and employment opportunities at the Delhi plant, click here.

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