SUSTAINABILITY: Mars Chocolate North America Debuts Revamped HQ, Solar Garden

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SUSTAINABILITY: Mars Chocolate North America Debuts Revamped HQ, Solar Garden

Mars Chocolate North America took the wraps off two huge projects last month: the largest solar garden installed by a New Jersey food manufacturer, and an overhauled, state-of-the-art headquarters encompassing offices and a manufacturing plant that now represents the company’s classic brands in a way that the company said was “magical, collaborative and sustainable.”

“Mars Chocolate North America has the opportunity to make a difference in the world we serve,” said Mars Chocolate North America president Todd Lachman. “Our headquarters in Hackettstown, N.J., has demonstrated our commitment with projects like the solar garden and the renovations that greatly improve the way we operate, and the environment in which our associates work.”

The solar garden consists of over 28,000 ground-mounted solar panels over 18 acres abutting Mars Chocolate North America’s headquarters, where more than 1,200 associates work and M&M’S Brand Chocolate Candies are made. The solar garden provides about 20 percent of the plant’s peak energy consumption, which will lower carbon dioxide emissions by more than 1,000 metric tons — the equivalent of removing 190 vehicles from the road annually. To ensure the solar garden’s successful operation, Mars Chocolate North America has entered into a long-term partnership with PSEG Solar Source.

The goals of the significant renovations made to the headquarters site were to help retain existing employees, attract new talent and boost productivity. According to Mars Chocolate North America, the colorful, open design promotes flexible, more efficient ways of working, including a range of unassigned work spaces and conference rooms, each offering innovative seating arrangements — from booths with bench seats to café seating and upholstered chairs paired with small coffee tables.

With the environmentally friendly renovations completed, the company will apply for LEED Gold Certification. A few of the enhancements include the installation of water-conserving fixtures that reduce water usage by more than 30 percent; a reduction in energy use by 15 percent through the use of a newly upgraded Building Energy Management System, variable frequency drives and energy-efficient lighting and controls; an upgraded roof utilizing a highly reflective roofing material that offsets the direct heat gain to the building; and the utilization of more than 20 percent recycled content in materials, from carpet to ceiling tiles.

Mars Chocolate North America is a division of Mount Olive, N.J.-based Mars North America, which employs over 12,000 associates in the United States, with 54 facilities across the country.