OAKVILLE, Calif. — Silver Oak Winery has been named the first commercial production winery in the world to earn LEED Platinum certification, the USGBC’s highest level of recognition.
In order to receive LEED Platinum certification, Silver Oak had to make a number of changes to their facility in Oakville. The largest change was reducing their water consumption by 1 million gallons. To do so, the grass was ripped out and replaced with turf and drought-tolerant shrubs were added to the landscape design. Low-flow toilets were also installed.
Additional changes were made by increasing recycling efforts, installing electric car charging stations and encouraging employees to carpool to work.
The 44-year-old winery is also working to earn LEED certification at its other location, Alexander Valley Winery in Healdsburg, Calif. Alexander Valley winery hopes to be LEED friendly by harvest of 2017.
"It’s never been done before," said president and CEO of Silver Oak and Alexander Valley Winery David Duncan, in a statement regarding Silver Oak’s LEED Platinum recognition. “One of my goals has been to make it cost-efficient. If we build green at any cost, we’re not proving anything because that’s not practical for most people."
The only other winery to achieve LEED Platinum certification is the University of California at Davis’ $15 million, teaching and research winery, opened in 2010. The winery was designed to instruct the wine industry on how to integrate sustainable design into the winery business.
Duncan credits his LEED certification to the demands of his consumers. As customers become more aware about the importance of sustainability, things like LED lights and low-flush toilets are in high demand and at lower costs than they were several years ago.
“We find that a lot of our consumers embrace environmental stewardship and appreciate what they know of our efforts,” said Ken Grossman, founder of Sierra Nevada Brewing and Duncan’s inspiration in a statement.
LEED certification is not the only green authority for California wineries. The Napa Valley Vintners also have a sustainable program for buildings and land, under which 48 producers have earned the Napa Green Certified Winery for following more than 100 measures to eliminate waste, save resources and become more efficient.