As Volkswagen Auto Group takes home the coveted gold medal from the World Environment Center, the automaker’s manufacturing plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee — home of the North American-market VW Passat — has a few unique environmentally-friendly elements that are worth mentioning.
- The facility is the first and only plant in the world to have earned a platinum certification in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) from the U.S. Green Building Council
- It conserves 720,000 kilowatts of energy annually through insulation made of recycled materials and rock wool.
- It’s also mindful about saving water, having saved more than 6 million gallons through rainwater collection. The rainwater is used for cooling and restrooms, and can save up to 350,000 gallons of water per month
- A water-efficient “Eco Dry Scrubber System” in the paint shop avoids water consumption of 20,000 gallons a day
- In 2013, the plant’s roof was the recipient of a 66-acre solar park — the largest in the state of Tennesse. Housing 33,000 solar panels, the panels generate 13.1 gigawatt-hours of electricity each year—enough to power 1,200 homes annually
- The plant utilizes power-efficient light bulbs (T5 lighting systems) that save 20 percent energy compared to conventional industrial lighting, while LED street lighting saves about 100,000 kilowatt hours per year and reduces ‘light pollution’ in the night sky
- The plant has protected wetlands and habitats for native vegetation defined on-site
- Two creeks were restored during construction to enhance wildlife habitat and provide a wildlife “corridor” around plant
- Specially-designed white roof reduces “heat island” effect by reflecting heat from the sun
- Advanced painting process reduces C02 emissions by 20 percent