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Kraft Foods Goes Underground

SPRINGFIELD, Mo.--Kraft Foods, Springfield Underground and Exel have opened a 400,000-square foot, below-ground warehouse, designed with energy efficiency and sustainability in mind.

The new facility serves as a central distribution hub for Kraft, which leases the facility from Springfield Underground. Exel operates the warehouse for Kraft.

The 36-degree-Fahrenheit warehouse, which houses well known refrigerated products like Kraft cheeses, Oscar Mayer meats and Jell-O refrigerated puddings, capitalizes on local unique geological features for energy and resource efficiencies. Built into an area mined for limestone, it boasts a solid limestone roof and ceiling, limestone structural columns and walls that are 35% limestone. Recycled material from quarry operations provided building fill material.

The building's long-term durability is enhanced because it is unaffected by sun, wind and precipitation. Additionally, its underground design, with grass and other vegetation on the exterior, prevents incremental storm-water runoff that would be created by new surface construction of similar size.

In addition to the natural features providing environmental benefits, the warehouse takes advantage of technology advances to promote further efficiencies: energy-saving fluorescent lighting throughout the facility and high-efficiency refrigeration equipment with reduced horse power requirements. Low-impact design on the surface reduces industrial sprawl.

"We're extremely excited about this new facility, which we estimate will use 65% less electricity than a comparable surface warehouse," said David Klavsons, vice president, logistics for Kraft. "The energy savings roughly equates to the annual power requirements of 700 homes."

He added that by consolidating distribution and reducing multiple stops by Kraft and customer trucks, an estimated 180,000 gallons of fuel may be saved, and carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced by approximately four million pounds, annually.

"This facility incorporates all of the best practices that we learned in 48 years of underground development," said Louis Griesemer, president and CEO of Springfield Underground Inc. "The energy efficiency, security and other amenities of the underground make this a state-of-the-art distribution facility. This is our single largest project and brings our underground square footage to over 2.2 million of developed space."

Within the facility, Exel provides full-service inbound and outbound services, including storage of finished goods, order picking and fulfillment.

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