Volkswagen Chattanooga Factory Earns LEED Platinum Certification

First Automotive Manufacturer to Reach Top Green Building Standard

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Volkswagen’s Chattanooga manufacturing plant has received a platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building certification program.

The facility is the first and only automotive manufacturing plant in the world to receive the Platinum certification.

“Because the Volkswagen Group has a longstanding, worldwide commitment to sustainable mobility and environmentally responsible manufacturing, we are proud to have achieved the LEED Platinum certification at our Chattanooga manufacturing facility,” said Hubert Waltl, member of the board of management for production and logistics. Platinum certification recognizes the highest level of performance.

“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,” said Frank Fischer, CEO and chairman of Volkswagen Chattanooga.

“Our commitment to building a LEED certified factory began in the planning and design stages,” Mr. Fischer said, “I believe that this not only helped insure that we would achieve Platinum status, but was actually a very cost effective way to implement environmentally responsible building methods.”

Officials said the ultra-clean paint shop alone will save 50 million gallons of water in 10 years.

“Volkswagen is clearly committed to the U.S. market,” said Jonathan Browning, president and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. “During the worst recession in the past century we never wavered with our investment of a billion dollars to create this world class facility. This certification underscores Volkswagen’s commitment to engineering excellence.”

LEED certification is an internationally-recognized green building certification system developed by the USGBC in March of 2000. LEED provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions. LEED promotes sustainable building and development practices through a suite of rating systems that recognize projects that implement strategies for better environmental and health performance.

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% 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.

The Volkswagen Academy was also certified by USGBA as a Platinum LEED 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.

“We are very pleased that the Volkswagen Academy has been Platinum LEED certified, because this reflects the level of excellence that we expect and produce in the academy,” said Hans-Herbert Jagla, EVP of Human Resources.

“Building operations are nearly 40 percent of the solution to the global climate change challenge,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO and 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.”

Volkswagen Chattanooga produces the all-new 2012 Passat, which has recently been named Motor Trend magazine’s 2012 Car of the Year.


Tennessee Housing Development Agency Awards Habitat For Humanity With State Funding

Habitat for Humanity of Tennessee, an organization supporting 50 Habitat affiliates serving 62 counties throughout Tennessee, received a $500,000 grant from the Tennessee Housing Development Agency’s Housing Trust Fund toward the construction of 30 homes statewide.   Locally, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Chattanooga Area was  given an allocation of $15,500 ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Collaborative Senior Housing Concept Presented Thursday

The Chattanooga Collaborative Senior Housing concept was presented outlining a model for a shared lifestyle in an urban setting to a group of senior citizens at the Mean Mug Coffeehouse on Thursday.  The group seeks additional seniors (55 and up) to join with them in establishing a model in Chattanooga that encourages community engagement and longer life by design.  “What ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Area Under Hard Freeze Warning As Winter Comes Early

The Chattanooga area was under a freeze warning as winter rushed in early. The biting weather came as crew members were about to hit the water for the annual Head of the Hooch at Ross's Landing. Here is the warning: ...FREEZE WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 3 AM EST /2 AM CST/ TO 9 AM EST /8 AM CST/ SUNDAY ... THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN MORRISTOWN HAS ISSUED ... (click for more)

Downtown Chattanooga Apartment Complex That Brought $3 Million Profit Exempt From Most Taxes Until 2022 Under PILOT

A downtown Chattanooga apartment complex that recently was sold at a $3 million profit is exempt from most property taxes through 2022 under a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) agreement.   No payment of school taxes was included in the deal for Walnut Commons at Walnut Street and Aquarium Way.   The only taxes due on the property for the next eight ... (click for more)

Time To Fix The TIFs

What if Chattanooga policy makers and taxpayers used several recent business announcements as a wakeup call to learn more about how our community decides what companies get property tax breaks? If enough people accept this assignment, it just might result in the adoption of some sound policies and procedures to guide us in the future. We read in the newspapers this week that ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My Garden In November

As the first day of November arrives today, it is cold enough in my garden to officially certify that fall has fell! There are even signs of ice on the ground but there is a bounty crop of acorns so, in keeping with our monthly tradition, some will get shiny acorns and others will get a chunk of cold ice: A SHINY ACORN for Patriots football coach Bill Belichick for scoffing at ... (click for more)