One billion dollars is a whole lot of green. And in the case of Volkswagen‘s new plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., one billion dollars also bought a whole lot of green.
The 2.5-million sq-ft complex is among the world’s most advanced and environmentally compatible automobile plants.
For example, this is the first VW facility to exclusively use LED lighting for outdoor illumination. The LED street lights save about 100,000 kilowatt-hours per year and reduce light pollution in the night skies.
The plant’s buildings and offices are also equipped with energy-saving lamps controlled by motion sensors. The entire lighting system uses about 20 percent less energy than comparable facilities.
Other sustainability features at the plant include:
- Advanced painting process that reduces CO2 emissions by 20 percent.
- “Eco Dry Scrubber System” in the paint shop that reduces water use by 50,000 gallons per day.
- Insulation of plant walls with six-inch mineral rock wool panels that reduces building energy consumption by 35 percent.
- Reuse of rainwater for cooling and restrooms that can save up to 350,000 gallons of water a month.
- Heat exchangers that capture and recycle heat for building climate control.
- On site protected wetlands and habitats for native vegetation. Two creeks were also restored during construction to enhance wildlife habitat in area and provide a wildlife corridor.
- Specially designed white roof that reflects heat from the sun.
- Shipping 80 percent of completed cars by rail to reduce diesel emissions and road traffic.
- On-site recycling and waste management center that ensure little or no waste will go to landfills.
Beyond the environmental sustainability, Volkswagen is also focused on sustaining the health of its employees. The tobacco-free facility includes a gym and on-site medical, dental, vision and physical rehabilitation services.