The FedEx Express World Headquarters (WHQ) is a 1.2 million square foot campus composed of nine buildings interconnected by second-level and on-grade walkways, situated on 102 acres in the southeast corner of Memphis. The WHQ campus is the first FedEx existing building facility to pursue a green building certification. FedEx strives to be a leader in the green building industry, and obtaining a LEED certification for the WHQ would serve as confirmation of their commitment to sustainable and environmentally friendly practices.


Paladino Approach

Although the WHQ campus was not designed as a green facility, the campus design and excellent management practices allowed the LEED EB: OM process to fit naturally into its day to day operations. The biggest challenge FedEx faced while pursuing the LEED-EB certification was to obtain cross department buy-in. Because LEED requires setting green initiatives and creating cross-organizational polices, many different internal departments had to be involved in the process. Once the goals of the LEED project were discussed and agreed upon, a FedEx team was created and members from several departments were recruited to participate.

To guide the WHQ team, Paladino applied its rigorous technical LEED EB facilitation process that has been developed and refined since the very first versions of LEED EB emerged in the market place. Using this approach, Paladino supported and interacted with the building management, vendors, facilities, and engineering staff to execute and document all required operational changes and improvements to achieve the stated goals.

Certification Strategies

FedEx adopted a low-impact building exterior and hardscape management plan to preserve ecological integrity and diversity, and protect wildlife while supporting high-level building performance. The plan impacts equipment, plantings, vegetation pest control, landscape waste, irrigation, fertilizer use, snow removal, building-exterior cleaning and paints and sealants.

The installation of low-flow aerators and water efficient shower heads reduced water consumption by 22% in building G and 17% in all the other buildings.

Energy is one of the largest single expenses associated with operating a property; thus, finding cost-saving energy measures was a key priority for the WQH management team. WHQ’s raised floor air distribution system was the first ever attempted in the South. Each workstation and private office has a minimum of one adjustable supply air diffuser that can be controlled by the employee. An aluminum and glass curtain wall system utilizes tinted low-E insulated glass to reduce solar heat gain inside the building. The majority of lighting at WHQ consists of energy efficient lamps connected to a computer controlled system that turns lights on and off at predetermined times. The lighting control system saves approximately $150,000 per year in energy cost.

FedEx prides itself on its waste reduction and recycling program at WHQ, which includes recycling for paper, light bulbs, toner cartridges, e-waste and batteries. A furniture recycling program allows FedEx to remanufacture and reuse its office furniture throughout the campus. Since initiating this program in 2004, FedEx has achieved a substantial savings in both storage costs and new furniture acquisition costs. Over 1,800 workstations and 14,000 pieces of furniture have been redeployed and remanufactured since 2004.

Providing a comfortable, healthy working environment was another priority for FedEx. Employees have the ability to control the temperature by using the individual air controls located in the floor of each workstation. Employee workstations have additional task lighting and are located near windows to provide natural light. The WHQ also upgraded to a MERV 13 air filtration system in order to provide its occupants with healthy indoor air, and an extensive green cleaning program and staff education program further promotes a healthy environment.


First LEED EB O+M Gold certified project in Memphis
17-22% reduction in water use
$150,000 annual savings in lighting energy costs