If someone mentions the environment when talking about an automotive company, most people think of hybrid cars or vehicles that run on alternative fuel. That’s great and Toyota is a leader in those areas.
But the TEMA Plant and Environmental Engineering department is hoping to make people think also about Toyota when they think of environmentally sustainable buildings as well.
Going Beyond LEED Platinum
According to Tim Hilgeman, Environmental Engineering, both the Supplier Center on the York campus and the new Production Engineering building in Georgetown will be LEED Platinum certified and net zero energy ready. “Basically, these buildings will be as efficient as possible,” said Tim. “We are taking it a step further than the LEED Platinum standard, which includes targets for renewable energy. Our buildings will be set up to potentially be off the grid at some point in the future.”
In the design competition the PE organization held last summer to stimulate ideas for their new building, a number of the entries included elements to make their building environmentally friendly. Although not all the team member ideas made it into the final design, their concern about the environment is being honored.
The sustainability plan that was approved by the Toyota North America leadership team will improve environmental performance, innovation and awareness. The goals are challenging. In designing both buildings, there is dedicated focus on reducing energy and water use requirements, improving efficiency on the consumption side and utilizing renewable resources.
Challenging Carbon Emission and Water Use Goals
In terms of carbon emissions, the metric the team is using is EUI – Energy Use Intensity. This is the amount of energy the building uses in a year per unit area, measured in thousands of BTU per square foot per year. A typical building not designed with environmental sustainability in mind could be at 100 EUI; our existing building at York is about 70 EUI. Our goal for our two new buildings is 25 EUI.
On both campuses, 15% of energy will come from solar panels at the outset, a geothermal well will be used for cooling water and we will harvest rain water for non-drinking uses. For example, 100% of urinal/water closet water will be from rain water.
It’s Not Just About Minimizing Our Impact, But Actually Helping the Environment
“One of our goals with the development of the PE building in Georgetown and our development on the York campus is to create buildings that are role models for the region in terms of environmental sustainability,” Tim continued. “This means not just how we design the buildings, but how we treat the environment in which we construct the building.”
With respect to biodiversity, goals for the sites include using native species, preventing invasive species, limiting irrigation needs and attracting pollinators. Native species typically require less mowing and irrigation; the result is a more natural setting, but some areas of the sites will not have the manicured, landscaped look team members are accustomed to. At Georgetown, the team will be working to enhance some of the areas of natural habitat that already exist, including connecting to the Toyota Environmental Education Center and Nature Trail at TMMK.
On both campuses, the team is also evaluating implementation of challenging materials and resources targets.These include selection of sustainable building materials, reducing waste, and sourcing materials locally.
Involving Team Members and the Community
Another LEED Platinum requirement is stakeholder involvement, including both employees and the community. Team members have been involved throughout the project so far; PE team members participated in the design competition last summer, and for both the PE building in Georgetown and the new Supplier Center at the York Campus, focus groups and the Business Partnering Groups (BPGs) have provided input and will be evaluating aspects of design throughout the process.
In developing the environmental sustainability goals, the design team benchmarked a leader in energy performance - National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The team is also working with several environmental groups including the Wildlife Habitat Council and, for Georgetown, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.
Certifications like LEED Platinum are important to showcase our commitment to the environment, and outreach to the community can bolster our reputation as an environmental leader. At the end of the day, team members want to work in inspiring, motivating, state-of-the-art facilities. When we can provide that, while honoring our responsibility to the environment, everyone wins.