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.