Volkswagen officials announced Thursday they have reached another milestone as the first U.S. auto manufacturer to obtain LEED Platinum certification—the nation's top green building standard.
Aspects of the plant that earned LEED recognition include:
— Superior insulation provided by six inches of mineral rock wool, resulting in 720,000 Kilowatts per year savings.
— Green power from the local hydroelectric dam
— Use of LED lighting on the exterior results in 68 percent less energy used, up to 262,500 kWh per year and a reduction in light pollution.
— Rainwater collected and reused to flush toilets and cool the welding machines
— White roof membrane is highly reflective, minimizing heat island effect by up to 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
— Natural flowing creeks to capture heavy rains and restore a natural habitat
— Low-flow water fixtures and no-touch sensors throughout the plant reduce water usage by 30 percent
— Plant was built on a brownfield property with no destruction of untouched nature. Protected 100-foot-wide creeks and wetlands were established to create natural habitats with low impact on natural habitats.
Volkswagen Chattanooga CEO and chairman Frank Fischer said that leaders began planning for a environmentally-friendly building in the design stages, which helped them achieve the platinum status. He also said it was a cost-effective way to implement the green standards.
“Volkswagen Chattanooga’s LEED Platinum certification is the fulfillment of a promise that Volkswagen has made around the world and in this community that we will work in harmony with the environment,” he said.“Our commitment to building a LEED certified factory began in the planning and design stages."
LEED certification is an internationally-recognized green building certification system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council in March of 2000.
LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.
The ultra-clean paint shop alone will save 50 million gallons of water in ten years, leaders said.
“Building operations are nearly 40 percent of the solution to the global climate change challenge,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair, U.S. Green Building Council. “While climate change is a global problem, innovative companies like Volkswagen Chattanooga are addressing it through local solutions.”
The Volkswagen Academy was also certified by U.S. Green Building Council as a LEED Platinum facility.
The primary purpose of the Volkswagen Academy is to prepare new employees for work at the Volkswagen plant.
In conjunction with Chattanooga State and Tennessee Tech, the Academy also offers an Industrial Technology degree and an apprenticeship program.