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Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank

How can sustainability ideas deliver more food to more people?

Although the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank serves a local population, it enjoys the reputation as one of the most progressive and well-run food distribution organizations in the country. Members of the evolveEA team had the privilege of assisting the food bank in the design and construction of one of the first 10 LEED certified buildings in the US ten years ago. Recently, evolveEA was proud to be working again with them on a strategic plan and design to evaluate their operational requirements and update the facility to meet their changing needs.

We helped the Food Bank think strategically about how sustainability could influence their supply chain and facilities to improve their core service of food delivery. One of the first projects, the End Hunger Now offices, was an investment in corporate culture that streamlined and improved the warehouse, expanded their office area, and did so without an additional building.

evolveEA’s strategic planning process benchmarked the Food Bank’s current operational requirements and through a series of charrettes, helped establish a vision for growth and use of the physical facilities, and set priorities with a process for implementation.

Beginning with the question, “What would you change to deliver more food to more people?” we helped the Food Bank find operational and facilities solutions that went beyond an initial expectation of expansion. Through analysis of material logistics, equipment upgrades, space utilization cycles we helped them identify past patterns and anticipate future trends. Our analyses demonstrated that by using the existing warehouse more effectively, they could improve efficiency and double the office space without the huge capital costs of an addition.

We then worked with the administrative team to conduct an occupancy evaluation to establish how spaces are used, determine user satisfaction levels, environmental performance and other issues. Their information was overlaid onto management research to design new office spaces that optimize the cultural change and increased operational efficiency.

Communication of ideas and intent was important throughout all stages of the project. A series of compelling graphic presentations allowed for a new understanding of the organization and its opportunities to aid in decision making. The space also played on the need to communicate the Food Bank’s mission, with playful color and graphics evoking warehouse materials and the large scale of the long span structure.