Trends Indicate Factories Going Green at ‘Remarkable Pace’

Today, there are more than 1,775 LEED-certified industrial facilities. This figure is projected to rise to more than 2,710 in the next few years.

Citing an article in Crain's Chicago Business and a new report by the U.S. Green Building Council, "LEED in Motion: Industrial Facilities," Sustainability Dashboard Tools LLC reports more factories and industrial locations in the United States are going green and doing so at a "remarkable pace."

Today, there is more than 500 million sq ft of green factory space, Sustainability Dashboard Tools says, citing the report. This includes more than 1,775 LEED- (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified industrial facilities. This figure is projected to rise to more than 2,710—more than 737 million sq ft of factory floor space—in the next few years.

The impetus for this rush appears to be cost savings.

"Along with cost savings, these manufacturers are finding that sustainability has helped their entire business operations and improved the health of the workplace," Stephen Ashkin, chief executive officer of Sustainability Dashboard Tools, which helps organizations measure and monitor their use of natural resources and other sustainability performance indicators, said.

These benefits are one reason Ashkin and ISSA are working together to develop ISSA's Operational Efficiency Program.

Designed to assist ISSA distributor members in reducing operating costs, "Many parts of the program will benefit jansan manufacturers as well," Ashkin said.

As an example of what is happening, the Crain's article mentioned the South Engine plant of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in Trenton, Mich., the world's first engine plant to achieve LEED Gold certification.

Annual carbon-dioxide emissions have been lowered by 12,000 metric tons, equal to the energy use of nearly 1,000 homes, while energy use on an annual basis has been reduced by 39 percent, saving the company $1.25 million a year.

"These are significant cost savings, good for the environment (and for) the overall sustainability crusade," Ashkin said. "It's creating a situation in which manufacturers are doing well by doing good, something we have seen happen over and over."

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