The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) recently released its latest LEED in Motion report highlighting the industrial sector and its achievements in sustainable design and operations. The industrial and manufacturing industry has come a long way in just the last few years – Paladino worked on the world’s first LEED Platinum certified industrial facility in 2008; today there are 66 LEED Platinum industrial buildings, and more than 1,755 LEED-certified industrial facilities worldwide, totaling more than 496 million square feet.
According to USGBC, the manufacturing sector is responsible for 30 percent of the United State’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. This also contributes to a lot of waste – in water, energy, and money. By looking at the industrial real estate market with an Abundance mindset, there is a lot of opportunity to improve manufacturing profitability, encourage innovation, and improve conditions for workers.
Here are four reasons that facility owners are going green:
- Green Products Supply Chain:Sustainably manufactured products are gaining traction among customers, especially millennials. Consumers increasingly care where their products come from, how they are processed, and their impact on the environment.
- Green Buildings:Owners are investing in sustainably built manufacturing facilities to reduce their costs and differentiate their brands. Energy and water use performance, stormwater impact improvement, and indoor health quality are just a few examples of how manufacturers can improve the environmental impact of their facilities.
- Efficient Operations:Operational costs are a critical component of the industrial facility business model. Tracking water, energy, and waste reduction goals using a “cost per product” key performance indicator is essential to meeting operational goals. The USGBC report also stresses that, “efficient buildings are simply a good business decision and, on the industrial scale, can save owners and operators millions.”
- Healthy Workplace:As in commercial offices, healthy workplaces are increasingly important in manufacturing. While energy use and carbon reduction are important drivers in the high-performance building market, an emerging best practice is to focus on the wellbeing of building occupants. Workplace wellness benefits industrial facilities in a number of ways—healthier, more engaged employees are more productive and take fewer sick days. In addition, a healthy workplace can support brand differentiation and help companies attract and retain the skilled workers needed for today’s innovation-led manufacturing.
Paladino works with clients working to achieve the outcomes above. We provide services on various types of industrial facilities, and our portfolio includes the LEED Platinum ConAgra Foods Lamb Weston plant in Delhi, Louisiana, which combined the best processing technologies and integrated revolutionary green building strategies and principles.
Recognizing that customers expect and reward companies that demonstrate a culture of sustainability, ConAgra supported this culture with an original budget allocation to achieve LEED Silver certification. Because process energy was expected to account for 90 percent of the building’s energy profile, addressing those loads represented the biggest opportunity to improve resource efficiency and associated costs. ConAgra also recognized that manufacturing facilities rarely achieve advanced levels of LEED certification due to difficulties in driving down energy demand. However, based on Paladino’s recommendations and LEED management, the facility surpassed the original LEED Silver goal with a LEED NC Platinum rating, and achieved the following:
- 44 percent reduction in energy use
- 60 percent reduction in domestic water usage through low flow plumbing
- 89 percent construction waste diverted from landfills
We are working to achieve similar results in an industrial facility in Mexico, and a Starbuck’s plant in Georgia for Stellar Manufacturing. These companies understand the value of sustainability as a business opportunity and are leading the industry as they embrace sustainability’s positive impact on their top line growth, brand differentiation, operational efficiencies, and the health of their employees.
Want to learn more about the sustainability impacts on the industrial sector? You can read USGBC’s full LEED in Motion report here.