Crain's Chicago Business (07/12/16) Ramanujam, Mahesh
A new study from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) lists more than 1,775 current LEED-certified industrial facilities, with projections of an increase to more than 2,710 facilities, writes USGBC's Mahesh Ramanujam. "Manufacturing plants, industrial facilities, and product factories...have become a cornerstone for the international green building industry," he says. "The growing adoption of LEED in this sector has given corporations another tool to achieve high-performing business operations and positively affect occupant health, reduce water and energy use, and increase cost savings, all at the same time." Ramanujam also notes the LEED program is proliferating among legacy product manufacturers, citing as an example the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Trenton South Engine plant, which became the world's first such facility to achieve LEED Gold certification. "Because of its design, annual CO2 emissions were lowered by 12,000 metric tons—equal to the energy use in nearly 1,000 homes—and annual new energy use was reduced by 39 percent, saving $1.25 million a year," Ramanujam says. He says LEED-certified buildings reduce operating costs, support a higher return on investment, and drive up resale and rental rates. "Professionals in the industry—from architects to contractors—should see the benefits of LEED and use it in manufacturing structures," Ramanujam says.