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Whirlpool Gets LEED Green Building Certification at Four RDCs
Apr 8, 2010
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Whirlpool Gets LEED Green Building Certification at Four RDCs

Whirlpool Corp. regional distribution centers (RDCs) in McDonough, GA, near Atlanta, and in Spanaway, WA, near Seattle, were award Gold LEED Certification and RDCs in Columbus, OH, and Denver, CO, were awarded LEED Certification.

The Whirlpool facilities in Atlanta and Columbus are each 1.6 million sq ft, making each large enough to hold 31 football fields – and making them among the 10 largest LEED-certified warehouses in the United States. The Atlanta facility is the largest LEED Gold industrial building in the U.S. and the second largest globally. The design and construction of the Atlanta, Columbus, Denver, and Seattle RDCs will generate an energy savings of more than 20% and more than 40% water efficiency.

Whirlpool achieved LEED certification for energy use, lighting, water and material use, and for incorporating a variety of other sustainable strategies.

LEED is an international green building certification system, providing third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance across several performance metrics, including energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts. There are four LEED certification levels for new construction: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. The certification was established by the U.S. Green Building Council and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI).

Whirlpool certification at the four RDCs was based on a number of green design and construction features, including:

Open Space: The Denver and Seattle RDCs were located on sites larger than the facility required, and a majority of each site's open space was restored to a natural state by planting native seed.

Storm water Quality Control: All four RDCs collect and treat storm water on site in order to limit disruption and pollution of natural water flows.

Heat Island Effect Roof: White TPO membrane with an SRI value of nearly 100 was installed across each roof to provide a highly reflective surface and reduce "heat island effect," or warmer temperatures resulting from solar energy retention on constructed surfaces.

Heat Island Effect Non-Roof: The Atlanta RDC used non-colored concrete for paved surfaces to further reduce heat island effect.

Light Pollution Reduction: Interior and exterior lighting in Atlanta and Seattle RDCs is automatically controlled to turn off non-essential lighting during non-business hours, minimizing light trespass from the building and site and avoiding night sky pollution.

Water Use Reduction: Restrooms in all four RDCs are equipped with dual-flush valves for the toilets and high-efficiency low-flow urinals; faucets are ultra low-flow. The fixtures should result in more than 40% reductions in annual water savings at RDC.

Optimized Energy Performance: Energy use is significantly reduced through the use of efficient fluorescent interior and exterior lighting, electric space heating, pump usage and heat rejection, and lighting control measures such as task lighting and switches with occupancy sensor overrides.

Recycled Content, Regional Materials and Certified Wood: Materials containing recycled content and regional materials extracted and manufactured within 500 miles of the RDCs were used when possible during building construction. Nearly 60% of the wood used to build the Columbus RDC, more than 70% used in the Atlanta RDC, and more than 85% used in the Seattle RDC was Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified.

Measurement and verification: The Seattle RDC building automation and control system supports continuous improvement of building performance over the life of the building. Energy consumption is metered and tracked continuously, along with indoor environmental conditions such as temperature, carbon dioxide levels, and air flow.

Low Emitting Materials: Low emitting paint, carpet, and other materials were used in an effort to reduce the quantity of indoor air contaminants.

Increased Ventilation: All occupied sites were designed to have increased fresh air ventilation, exceeding the minimum rates required by more than 30%.

Fuel Efficient Vehicle Parking: Preferred parking spaces are provided at all four RDCs to those who carpool, vanpool, or drive a low-emitting, fuel-efficient vehicle.

Water Efficient Landscaping: The RDCs use native plantings appropriate for the climate, topography and use. Atlanta and Spanaway RDCs landscaping is made up of native plantings and drought-tolerant species that require no irrigation, resulting in a 100% reduction in potable water use. Most of the landscaping at the Denver RDC is native seed that requires no irrigation. Remaining areas use a drip irrigation system, irrigation controllers, and rain sensors to increase irrigation efficiency, reducing water use by 97%. The Columbus RDC reuses collected rain water to irrigate the native plants used in landscaping.

Educational Program: Education programs describe the buildings' sustainable design practices and include an educational display highlighting the buildings' sustainable design features, a case study describing each building's design features and a public tours program.

Low Mercury Lighting: Toxic material source reduction programs reduce the mercury brought into buildings in Atlanta and Seattle RDCs in light bulbs.

Connected to Railcar Service: n addition to truck service, all RDCs connect to railcar service, which is generally considered three times more efficient than trucks on a ton-mile basis.

Electric Lift Truck Use: Electric rather than propane lift trucks are used in the facilities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve indoor air quality.

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