Emily Neagle

Members of the LEED User Group: Industrial Facilities weigh in on how LEED affects their industrial work.

In 2012, USGBC jumped on an unprecedented opportunity to work collaboratively with the manufacturing sector with the launch the LEED User Group: Industrial Facilities. This peer-leadership collaborative is a mechanism for market-driven feedback from industry experts, and now, four years later, the consensus among these powerful voices is clear: LEED is a flexible and applicable leadership standard for industrial and manufacturing facilities. 

The just-released LEED in Motion: Industrial Facilities report is full of examples of how and why industrial facilities should and can use LEED. We also asked green building leaders within the sector for their 60-second take on how LEED positively impacts their work. Here is what they said: 

How do you use LEED? 

Angela Rivera, Managing Director and Senior Project Manager, GreenShape LLC:

We use LEED as a tool to convince owners and project teams to incorporate sustainable features into their facilities and practices that they otherwise may not have. When you look at the scale of industrial projects, even a minor improvement in performance or a slight change in practices can make a huge difference. For instance, a 1 percent energy reduction typically eclipses the annual energy consumption of an average office building. When large consumers make incremental improvements, it’s an efficient way to make an impact. 

I also like to use it to highlight a holistic approach to design, construction and management that should be considered in order for a facility to be truly sustainable. This brings the subjects of sustainability to a larger audience and moves the industry as a whole toward a more sustainable standard of practice. 

What are the benefits of using LEED in the industrial context? 

Sean Hogan, Sustainability Leader and Senior Architectural Technologist, RKD Architects:

Industry has traditionally been considered the main contributor to environmental pollution, but increased awareness of the damage to our planet and commitment to doing the right thing is finally playing its part. The combination of monetary savings and taking an active role in conserving resources and preserving the planet resonates well with all stakeholders. 

LEED allows projects teams not just to look at the building and the systems required to manage it, but also the process of manufacturing and supply chain distribution. While significant savings can be made in the occupant use of the building, savings in production and distribution can lead to massive reductions in a corporation’s costs and carbon footprint. 

What do you see as the future of sustainable industrial facilities? 

Ozzie Gonzalez, Global Director of Sustainability, IAT, CH2M:

The future can be described in one word: proactive. The increasing use of metering and communications technology is enabling site operations teams to manage their buildings, equipment and systems in a way that eschews the less predictable, reactionary, problem-solving approach and favors a proactive, preventative maintenance model. This subtle shift in function is opening up facilities management staff to a world of possibilities for ongoing operational improvements and supply chain sustainability initiatives. 

On a parallel track, I see an increased merger between biological and technological functions on our horizon, and it is very exciting. From spore-based 3D printing technology and bacteria-infused self-healing concrete to bio-feedback devices used to monitor ecosystem restoration, our ability to fuse biological and technological functions is pushing design innovation to the molecular level. 

Learn more about LEED industrial facilities