Whirlpool Corporation announced its regional distribution centers (RDCs) in McDonough, GA (near Atlanta) and Spanaway, WA (near Seattle) have been awarded Gold LEED Certification. Meanwhile, the company’s RDCs in Columbus, OH, and Denver, CO were awarded LEED Certification. The LEED rating system, established by the U.S. Green Building Council, offers four certification levels for new construction—Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. The certification, established by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), was verified by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI).
Whirlpool Corporation’s 1.6 million square foot Atlanta and Columbus facilities are among the 10 largest LEED certified warehouses in the United States. The Atlanta facility is the largest LEED Gold industrial building in the U.S. and the second largest globally. The design and construction of these four facilities is expected to generate an energy savings of more than 20% and more than 40% water efficiency.
“Pursuing the voluntary LEED certification is just another example of Whirlpool Corporation’s commitment to sustainability,” said Brian Hancock, vice president of the company’s supply chain organization. ”When we were planning construction of these buildings we knew we wanted environmentally friendly and efficient design.”
Design and construction features of the RDCs include:
Open Space: To provide a high ratio of open space to promote biodiversity, the Denver and Seattle RDCs were located on sites larger than the facility required in order to maximize open space. As part of the purchase, a majority of each site was restored to a natural state by planting native seed, achieving greater than a 60% increase in open space over zoning requirements on each site.
Stormwater Quality Control: All of the facilities collect and treat stormwater on-site in order to limit disruption and pollution of natural water flows and to remove pollutants from runoff from impervious areas.
Heat Island Effect Roof: White TPO membrane with a Solar Reflectance Index (SRI) value of nearly 100 were installed across the each roof to provide a reflective surface and reduce heat island effect.
Heat Island Effect Non-Roof: The Atlanta RDC used non-colored concrete for roadways, sidewalks, and parking areas, which also helps reduce heat island effect.
Light Pollution Reduction: Interior and exterior lighting for the Atlanta and Seattle RDCs are designed with automatic lighting controls that turn off non-essential lighting during non-business hours to minimize light trespass from the building and site, and to also avoid night sky pollution.
Water Use Reduction: The restrooms in all four RDCs are equipped with dual-flush valves for the toilets and high efficiency, low flow urinals. Faucets in the facility also are ultra low flow. The performance of these fixtures should result in more than 40% reductions in annual water savings at RDC.
Optimized Energy Performance: Installation of highly efficient fluorescent interior and exterior lighting, electric space heating, pump usage, and heat rejection, as well as lighting control measures such as task lighting and switches with occupancy sensor overrides significantly reduces energy use.
Recycled Content, Regional Materials and Certified Wood: Materials containing recycled content and regional materials extracted and manufactured within 500 miles of the RDCs were used whenever possible during construction. Nearly 60% of the wood used to build the Columbus RDC, more than 70% used in the Atlanta RDC, and more than 85% used in the Seattle RDC was Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified.
Measurement and Verification: The Seattle RDC has implemented a building automation and control system to support continuous improvement of building performance over the life of the facility. Energy consumption is metered and tracked continuously, along with indoor environmental conditions such as temperature, carbon dioxide levels, and air flow.
Low Emitting Materials: Low emitting materials (e.g., paint, carpet) were used in an effort to reduce the quantity of indoor air contaminants harmful to provide a healthier working environment.
Increased Ventilation: Increased fresh air ventilation in all occupied spaces was designed to exceed the minimum rates required by more than 30%.
Fuel Efficient Vehicle Parking: Preferred parking spaces are provided at all four RDCs to those who carpool, vanpool, or drive a low emitting, fuel efficient vehicle.
Water Efficient Landscaping: The RDCs use native plantings appropriate for the climate, topography, and use. The Atlanta and Spanaway RDCs’ landscaping is comprised of native plantings and drought tolerant species that require no irrigation, resulting in a 100% reduction in potable water use. The majority of the landscaping for the Denver RDC is a native seed that requires no irrigation. The remaining areas around the entry, parking areas, and building perimeter landscaped with trees and shrubs use a drip irrigation system, irrigation controllers, and rain sensors to increase irrigation efficiency, resulting in a 97% reduction in water use. The Columbus RDC reuses collected rainwater to irrigate the native plants used in the landscaping.
Educational Program: Education programs describe the buildings’ sustainable design practices and include an educational display highlighting the buildings’ sustainable design features, a case study describing each building’s design features, and a public tours program.
Low Mercury Lighting: The Atlanta and Seattle RDCs established a program to maintain in the design, construction, and operations and maintenance phases, a toxic material source reduction program to reduce the amount of mercury brought into buildings through purchasing of light bulbs. An innovation in design credit was awarded to the Atlanta and Seattle RDCs for development and implementation of this program.
Connected To Railcar Service: In addition to truck transit, all RDCs are able to connect to railcar service. Trains are generally considered three times more efficient than trucks on a ton-mile basis.
Electric Lift Truck Use: Electric lift trucks also are used within the facilities, rather than propane lift trucks, helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as improve the indoor air quality in the facilities.