McCormick warehouse in Baltimore achieves net-zero status

Over the past year, solar panels at the spice company's 336,000-square-foot distribution center generated a surplus of 16,000 kilowatt-hours.

Spice and condiment company McCormick & Co. has joined the ranks of companies managing buildings that the design world loves dubbing "net-zero" from an energy standpoint. That's because the company's 363,000-square-foot distribution center in Baltimore now generates more electricity than it traditionally needs, making it a net-zero building.

The company was able to achieve its net-zero status for the Belcamp facilities through a combination of energy efficiency initiatives and on-site renewable energy investments, specifically in solar technology. The site uses a 1.8-megawatt capacity rooftop installation that was handled by Constellation Energy. Over the past year, the site generated a surplus of 16,000 kilowatt-hour in power, according to the companies.

"This is a milestone for our solar power projects and represents tangible evidence of our robust corporate social responsibility efforts," said Jeff Blankman, sustainable manufacturing manager for McCormick, in a statement describing the company's achievement.

Aside from the solar investment, McCormick invested heavily in energy-efficient lighting for both the interior and exterior of the Belcamp building; occupancy sensors; upgrades to the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems; and more energy-efficient pallet conveyors.

McCormick also has on-site solar installations at the McCormick Spice Mill in Hunt Valley, Md., where it uses system close to 1 megawatt in capacity that is managed by Constellation; it uses a small system at its headquarters building.

As described in the video, Constellation Energy built, owns and maintains the solar installations for McCormick. In exchange, the company has signed power purchase agreements for the next 20 years that enable it to buy the electricity generated by the panels for below current market rates. Although there is a 20-year commitment, McCormick didn't need to put up capital to build out its panels.

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