Turtle Island Foods (TIF), a producer of meat alternative Tofurky, opened a new production facility in Hood River, Oregon, US, in 2012. The $10m project broke ground in July 2011 and was completed in October 2012. The new facility will help Turtle Island Foods in meeting the growing demand for its alternative meat products.

TIF developed the plant in partnership with Key Development Corporation. TIF operates one more production facility in Hood River, which will be retained to produce its tempeh soy products. The company is also planning to extend the new facility in the future.

The new Hood River facility created about 105 jobs during its construction. The plant will initially employ about 60 people and 100 when fully operational.

Design and construction of Turtle Island Foods’ new plant

"TIF operates one more production facility in Hood River, which will be retained to produce its tempeh soy products."

The new plant is spread over an area of 33,000ft² on a 1.27 acre site in Port of Hood River’s new business park. It is built on a site which was earlier a telephone company’s yard. The new facility includes a main production area, test kitchen, offices and locker rooms.

A unique feature of the plant is the 1,400ft² green roof which can grow vegetables and taller accent plants. The green roof was topped out in October 2012. It also incorporates a mini golf course, seating areas, walkways and a wired sound system.

LiveRoof supplied the plant with the green roof, which uses a combination of LiveRoof Deep (6in) and Maxx (8in) modules. A total of 940 modules have been installed on the roof.

Tofurky product success and market reach

TIF started its business operations by producing tempeh, a soy product. In 1995, the company introduced Tofurky Feast, a tofu-based turkey-flavoured alternative to turkey meat. The product became an instant success and the brand is currently the second largest selling frozen meat alternative in the US.

The Tofurky brand also includes deli slices, sausages and pizzas. These products are marketed in more than 10,000 retail stores across the US and Canada.

Sustainable features of TIF’s Oregon-based facility

The Hood River plant is designed to achieve LEED Platinum certification, the highest level of LEED certification. There are only five buildings in the world with LEED Platinum certification.

"The Tofurky brand also includes deli slices, sausages and pizzas. These products are marketed in more than 10,000 retail stores."

Achieving LEED Platinum certification for a food processing facility is a difficult task, considering the large food processing units which require high energy consumption. TIF has achieved this by incorporating three key elements, including a solar hot water system, heat recovery system and use of efficient mechanical and food processing equipment.

The solar hot water system of the plant preheats the water used in food processing. The preheating reduces the energy consumption by nearly 40%. The plant also recovers heat generated from the refrigeration system and reuses it.

The roof of the plant is made of LEED-standard solar reflectance material and includes the green roof, which reduces heat gain. The green roof also acts as a natural pervious surface for storm water runoff. Apart from the green roof, the building also includes a 86.24kW solar array on the rooftop.

The building features large windows which provide natural lighting. Solar tube lighting is also provided to reduce the need for artificial lighting.

Efficient water fixtures have been installed in the facility, which helps in achieving 40% water efficiency. A rainwater collection tank is also installed, which collects brown water for use in the building’s toilets.

Recycled and low emission material has been used in the construction of the plant. More than 45% of the building materials include regionally sourced and recycled content. About 90% of the construction waste was recycled to minimise any impact on the local landfills.

The facility was designed by Surround Architecture. GreenFeathers, a unit of Blooming Nursery, supplied the plants for the green roof of the building.

Related content

Franz Family Bakeries, Springfield, Oregon, United States of America

Franz Family Bakeries has produced bread products in the North Western US since 1906 and commissioned a $42m bakery in Springfield, Oregon, as part of a centennial celebration.

Laurelwood Brewing Company, Portland, Oregon, United States of America

The Laurelwood brewery produces a variety of beers from Stout to Porters, and ales to lagers.