Why Sustainable Manufacturing Facilities Are Green Building’s Next Big Thing

by | Jul 25, 2016

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FCA Trenton South Engine PlantManufacturing facilities are increasing seeking LEED green building certification, according to a US Green Building Council report.

LEED in Motion: Industrial Facilities report highlights the manufacturing sector’s efforts to design and implement LEED and prioritize environmental stewardship for industrial facilities. Currently, there are more than 1,755 LEED-certified industrial facilities worldwide, totaling more than 496 million square feet, and an additional 2,710 projects registered that total nearly 737 million square feet.

Why this boost in more sustainable manufacturing facilities? Because green building save money for owners and operators. As USGBC COO Mahesh Ramanujam writes in an opinion piece in Crain’s Chicago Business, “Green manufacturing saves big money in the long run. Manufacturers do well by doing good.”

In the US manufacturing sector alone is responsible for 30 percent of the nation’s total energy consumption and uses an estimated 15,900 million gallons of water per day, which is roughly 4 percent of total daily water use. Through LEED certification, industrial facilities are more resource-efficient and high-performing, which translates to increased asset value and millions of dollars in savings for owners and operators, the report says.

One example from the report is the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Trenton South Engine plant (pictured) in Michigan — the world’s first engine plant to achieve LEED Gold. Because of its design, annual CO2 emissions were reduced by 12,000 metric tons and annual new energy use was reduced by 39 percent, saving $1.25 million a year.

Just last month Toyota said it is seeking LEED Platinum certification for it’s new North American headquarters in Plano, Texas. The $1 billion campus, slated to open in May 2017, will include a 7.7-megawatt solar array and will use 100 percent renewable energy.

And Ford, which in April announced plans to transform its 60-plus-year-old Dearborn campus into a high-tech, high-efficiency headquarters, expects all renovated facilities on both campuses will achieve at a minimum LEED Silver certification. All new construction is planned to meet LEED Gold certification standards.

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