LEED for Industrial Facilities

The LEED sustainable industry was born in México.

The path of sustainable industry through the LEED methodology started in our country in 2012 with the “Tenaris Tamsa Expansión” certification, becoming the first heavy manufacturing project in the world and one of the first 40 to receive this certification. This facility located in Veracruz achieved a saving of more than 21% of electricity and more than half of water consumption, reducing its carbon emissions by 19%.

Likewise, aligned with sustainable goals, the company did not limit itself to guiding its objectives to LEED certification, also developed a management system recognized by ISO 14001, endorsing the company’s friendly environmental activities.

“Manufacturing in 2050 will look very different from today […].

Successful firms will be capable of rapidly adapting their infrastructures to exploit changes in technology as manufacturing becomes faster, more responsive and closer to costumers”.

“The Future of Manufacturing”, by Government Office of Science, United Kingdom.

The incorporation of technological tools in the transformation processes has been a key factor for the optimization of resources, times and costs in the industries, creating high quality products and more availability in the market. Although the way of manufacturing has innovated, why not also renew the way in which factories are designed and built?

By the end of 2018, Mexico had more than 200 LEED industrial projects (registered and certified), including manufacturing, distribution and storage facilities. This numbers represents the second sector with the largest number of projects in search of this international certification, showing interest in reducing the environmental impact of operations.

WHY ARE THE INDUSTRIES USING LEED?

LOWER OPERATING COSTS

LEED Certification is based on prioritizing efficiencies: maximizing outcomes through a lower consumption of resources, implementing sustainability strategies since design phase until occupation. It should be noted that these benefits are not exclusive to newly created buildings, existing industrial buildings can implement a LEED plan of operations and maintenance that provides them with significant savings.


Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Trenton South Engine facility, located in Michigan, USA, became the first facility of engines for cars to achieve LEED Gold Certification in the world. Thanks to the design of this building, carbon dioxide emissions were reduced by 12,000 metric tons, equivalent to the energy of almost one thousand homes, as well as an energy saving of 39%, saving $1.25 million dollars a year.

PROPER DETECTION OF IRREGULARITIES IN SYSTEMS

The constant monitoring, recording of operations, facilities maintenance and the optimal consumption of resources are vital activities for profitable operation.

Therefore, LEED Certification includes in its scoring scale some credits and prerequisites that allow to monitor and make visible the consumption of the systems with the purpose of detecting timely irregularities in the energy or hydraulic systems and, consequently, an effective decision-making.


This possibility is not exclusive for projects under construction; If there is an existing building that seeks to incorporate a sustainable operation, Arc Platform is an excellent tool that will allow to detect irregularities in the exercise of the building.

MINIMUM INCREASED COST

With a clear vision of desired sustainability objectives and the correct selection of credits applicable to the project, companies can experiment a low overcost and a faster-than-conventional ROI when searching for LEED Certification.

In addition, there are LEED points or prerequisites that can be addressed with zero or minimal cost, for instance, installation of waste separation areas, reserve parking spaces for low-impact vehicles, selection of a high-connection area with collective transport lines (such as the subway or buses) or with service establishments (such as banks, convenience stores, parks, pharmacies, etc.), creation of policies, among others. Each of these points and their scope depends on each project.


According to a Turner exercise, an industrial facility estimated an extra cost of 1.63% above original budget for a LEED Gold Certification. This amount could range between 0.8% or even up to 2.25% depending on the variables.

HIGHER PRODUCTIVITY

The occupants of a LEED building (industrial building or any type) demonstrate an increase in their cognitive abilities leading to higher productivity and a lower rate of absenteeism and presenteeism. This, by using strategies that increase daylight, a constantly-renewed ventilation and use of materials with low volatile organic compounds in the environment.


In high performance buildings with LEED Certification, workers have experimented up to 73% in positive response to emergency or critical conditions, as well as a 38% higher concentration rate compared to a conventional building. Likewise, there has been a reduction of 30% in diseases and symptoms related to the building and a 6.4% improvement in sleep quality.

ALIGNMENT WITH CORPORATE OBJECTIVES

Among the goals to achieve a reduction in its environmental impact, industries have set social responsibility goals, highlighting the reduction in consumption of resources and emission of greenhouse gases. In the same way, industries have discovered that they can approach their goals when carrying out their operations in spaces that combine architecture and engineering strategies with a sustainable approach that produce efficiencies in their activities.


International company, Intel, has set environmental goals to reduce its environmental footprint. Among the actions that have allowed it to reduce its absolute emissions of greenhouse gases by almost 50% has been the supply of 100% green energy in operations in the United States, with a commitment to triple our current levels, as well as the construction of new buildings with mandatory LEED Gold (or higher) certification.

THE PATH TOWARDS ZERO WASTE INDUSTRIES.

According to “The Future of Manufacturing” report, by the Government Office of Science, United Kingdom, an staged industrial evolution began in 2013,  where the processes have been looking for greater energy efficiency, a bigger water use reduction and an improvement in the efficiency of land use. Subsequently, in a second stage of transformation of the industry (projected its start to 2025) will be experimented with new systems for the creation of reused, remanufactured, recycled and redesigned products.

Finally, towards 2050, it is foreseen that the manufacturing industries will use smaller quantities of materials and energy, where waste is not stored in landfills but it is kept in a “productive cycle” and the integration of the factories of the consumers, suppliers and academic institutions will be possible.

An example of high performance transformation facilities and the maximum use of resources is the Central Termoeléctrica Pesquería Campus, located in Nuevo León, Mexico. This detailed project was developed thanks to the simultaneous work of company’s specialists located in Mexico, Italy, United States and India. Also, among all the sustainability strategies for this 5 LEED-certified building campus, outstands the treatment and reincorporation of 100% of wastewater and rain, achieving zero consumption of municipal potable water.

Por: Enrique I. Betancourt

Comunicación & Imagen

Bioconstrucción y Energía Alternativa, SA de CV

ebetancourt@bioconstruccion.com.mx

References:

1. http://www.usgbc.org/advocacy/country-market-brief
2. https://www.environmentalleader.com/2016/07/why-sustainable-manufacturing-facilities-are-green-buildings-next-big-thing/
3. https://www.usgbc.org/articles/myth-3-leed-not-worth-investment
4. http://naturalleader.com/thecogfxstudy/study-2/better-thinking/
5. https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/corporate-responsibility/intel-climate-change-pledge.html