Building Smart

Leading today for a better tomorrow and beyond.

Already a leader in green investments with our low-consumption, low-emission vehicles, we are hard at work improving production processes to maximize sustainability and minimize environmental impacts.

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Our Chattanooga manufacturing plant has become the first and only automotive manufacturing plant in the world to receive Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) green building certification program. Platinum certification is the highest level of performance in the green building certification program.

LEED certification is an internationally-recognized green building certification system developed by the USGBC in March of 2000. LEED provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.

Aspects of the plant that earned LEED recognition include:

  • Superior insulation provided by six inches of mineral rock wool, resulting in 720,000 Kilowatts per year savings.
  • Green power from the local hydroelectric dam
  • Use of LED exterior lighting results in 68% less energy used, up to 262,500 kWh per year and a reduction in light pollution.
  • Collected rainwater is reused to flush toilets and cool the welding machines
  • Highly reflective white roof, which minimizes “heat island effect” by up to 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Natural flowing creeks to capture heavy rains and restore a natural habitat
  • Low-flow water fixtures and no-touch sensors throughout the plant reduce water usage by 30%.
  • Plant was built on a brownfield property with no destruction of untouched nature.
  • Protected 100 ft. wide creeks and wetlands were established to create natural habitats with low impact on natural habitats.

“Volkswagen Chattanooga’s LEED Platinum certification is the fulfillment of a promise that Volkswagen has made around the world and in this community that we will work in harmony with the environment,” said Frank Fischer, CEO and chairman of Volkswagen Chattanooga.  “Our commitment to building a LEED certified factory began in the planning and design stages.  I believe that this not only helped insure that we would achieve Platinum status, but was actually a very cost effective way to implement environmentally responsible building methods,” he said.

The Volkswagen Academy was also certified by USGBA as a Platinum LEED facility. The primary purpose of the Volkswagen Academy is to prepare new employees for work at the Volkswagen plant. In conjunction with Chattanooga State and Tennessee Tech, the Academy also offers an Industrial Technology degree and an apprenticeship program.


Volkswagen Chattanooga (USA)Less than two months have past since the official opening of Volkswagen Group of America’s Chattanooga Operations, and the folks at Chattanooga have another thing to celebrate. Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has awarded the facility with the 2011 Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Award for Building Green.

“This award reflects Volkswagen’s company-wide focus on our obligation to be thoughtful stewards of the environment, both with our vehicles and even our buildings,” said Frank Fischer, CEO and Chair of Volkswagen Chattanooga. “I am very pleased that Gov. Haslam has recognized our efforts and I’m particularly proud that our Passat’s clean diesel engine emits the lowest CO2 and gets the highest MPG in its class,” Fischer said.

The Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards program recognizes exceptional voluntary actions that improve or protect our environment and natural resources with projects or initiatives not required by law or regulation.

“This year’s roster of honorees demonstrates that environmental stewardship is thriving in our local communities. I am pleased to support a program that recognizes leadership that positively impacts the environment,” Haslam said.

VWGoA’s Chattanooga facility was built on a 1,350-acre Brownfield site. The facility will use rainwater harvesting in order to supplement 653,000 gallons of water per year used for gray water, reducing the overall water usage onsite. A special single-ply membrane roof was used throughout 1.8 million square feet of roof surface in an effort to minimize the heat island effect.

The paint shop is the world’s first to utilize a dry-scrubber system to collect paint overspray, unlike traditional shops that use water to collect paint overspray. The Chattanooga paint shop then collects the powder and sends it to a local company where it is used to make concrete.

In addition, the dry scrubber system makes it possible to recycle 85 percent of the air in the spray booths. Due to this air recycling, the dry-scrubber system saves 42 percent power and 85 percent heating energy for conditioning the air inside the spray booths.

Skylights are used generously throughout the building to provide natural lighting, which reduces the energy demand from light fixtures. There are dedicated carpool and vanpool parking spaces in the main parking lot, as well as preferred parking for low‐emitting and fuel‐efficient vehicles. An extensive storm water conveyance system consisting of bioswales, vegetative ditches and culverts culminating at a constructed sluice gate acts as the primary storm water management system.

A large portion of the acreage has been set aside for native or adapted plants, which do not require permanent irrigation. Specific species have been planted in the ditches and swales for filtration of suspended solids.

The 14 winners will be recognized for their achievements and positive impact on the state’s natural resources in an awards ceremony to be held in Nashville on August 12.



Mayor Cindy Silva and Werner Mersch, Volkswagen’s Western Region Director, help the Dirito brothers break ground on the brand-new dealership.

Volkswagen Group of America continued growing its U.S. presence by becoming a permanent resident of the “Golden State.” Last week, VWGoA celebrated not one, but two groundbreakings, including the New Lab for Emissions Testing and Powertrain Development in Oxnard, Calif. and the 30,000-square-foot dealership in downtown Walnut Creek, Calif.

The $25 million lab will replace the existing facility in Westlake Village and will also serve as a customer service support center for Bugatti dealers in North and South America. Read more »



Volkswagen Group of America is the Washington D.C. area’s only hometown automaker — a fact that we were excited to highlight during the Washington Auto Show. Moreover, nearly 400 VWGoA employees are proud to call the Washington area home.

During the Auto Show, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. President and CEO Jonathan Browning was joined by a host of community partners as he introduced the all-new American made Volkswagen Passat sedan to the Washington area. Read more »


12,000 Jobs!

Volkswagen Group of America’s CEO Jonathan Browning revealed the all-new 2012 Passat to the world at the 2011 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Mich.

The new Passat, designed in Germany with American tastes and lifestyles in mind, will be built in our Chattanooga, Tenn. plant, which is one of the world’s newest and most advanced auto assembly plants. Read more »

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TDI engineIn the 2010 comprehensive environmental rankings published by the Union of Concerned Scientists, an alliance of more than 250,000 citizens and scientists are working for a healthy environment. Volkswagen tied Toyota for the lowest smog-forming pollutant emissions. According to the report,

“The newer and cleaner diesel models that Volkswagen now offers will be technologies to watch—especially to see if they can beat out other companies’ hybrids.”

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