VW’s Chattanooga plant rated most efficient in the world image

Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant in Tennessee was rated as the cleanest and most energy-efficient car manufacturing site in the world by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The organization awarded the factory with a platinum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, the only auto manufacturing site to receive that honor. The new 1,400-acre facility where the U.S. Passat is built has been fitted with sophisticated technology as well as simple measures to conserve energy and water. VW’s $1 billion plant was followed in Green Building Council’s ranking by General Motors’ Lansing Delta Township plant, opened five years ago.

Based in Washington, D.C., the Green Building Council rates structures based on their environmental impact and other criteria such as energy and water consumption, use of raw materials and recycling rates.

The Chattanooga plant’s energy and water conservation measures include using rainwater collected on the roof to cool welding equipment and flush toilets, constructing an ultra-clean paint shop, estimated to save 50 million gallons of water over 10 years, and installing LED lighting that uses two-thirds less energy.

Low-flow water fixtures and no-touch sensors throughout the plant reduce water consumption by 30 percent. “During the worst recession in the past century we never wavered with our investment of a billion dollars to create this world class facility. This certification underscores Volkswagen’s commitment to engineering excellence,” said Jonathan Browning, CEO Volkswagen of America.