Report shows industrial sector prioritizes sustainability in design and operations

U.S. Green Building Council’s new LEED in Motion: Industrial Facilities report highlights the collaborative efforts across the manufacturing sector to design and implement LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and prioritize environmental stewardship. Currently, there are more than 1,755 LEED-certified industrial facilities worldwide totaling more than 496 million square feet and an additional 2,710 projects registered totaling nearly 737 million square feet.

“The world’s manufacturing plants, industrial facilities and product factories have become an important cornerstone for the global green building industry,” says USGBC CEO Rick Fedrizzi. “The growing adoption of LEED in this sector gives corporations another tool to achieve high-performing business operations and positively impact worker health, reduce water and energy use, and increase cost-savings all at the same time.”

Report authors note: 1) Industrial facilities, which include manufacturing buildings, warehouses, distribution centers and industrial campuses, operate on a vastly larger scale than homes, office buildings and universities; 2) The manufacturing sector alone is responsible for 30 percent of the nation’s total energy consumption and uses an estimated 15,900 million gallons of water per day, which is roughly 4 percent of total daily water use; and, 3) Through LEED certification, industrial facilities are more resource efficient, which translates to increased asset value and millions of dollars in savings for owners and operators.

The manufacturing sector is essential to the global marketplace and a significant economic driver worldwide. In the U.S. alone, manufacturing industry contributed $2.1 trillion in 2014 gross domestic product; for every $1 spent in manufacturing, the National Association of Manufacturers reports, an additional $1.40 is added to the economy. The sector also provides 12.3 million jobs and indirectly supports an additional 18.5 million jobs. USGBC’s recent Green Building Economic Impact Study found that across industries, green construction jobs are poised to create more than 3.3 million U.S. jobs and $190.3 billion in labor earnings by 2018.

The LEED in Motion: Industrial Facilities report underscores how LEED is a transformative tool that positively impacts the quality of built space and can be applied to all building types, USGBC contends. Because environmental, climate conditions, worker health, and safety codes, standards and laws vary, LEED provides a mechanism for recognizing those differences while still achieving the same credit intent and requirements. In developing the newest version of the rating system, LEED v4, the LEED Warehouse and Distribution Center adaption was designed to meet the specific needs of the global manufacturing sector and to ensure high performance in human and environmental health, sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, supply chain and indoor environmental quality.

LEED in Motion: Industrial Facilities is the latest in a series of USGBC reports designed to provide a snapshot of the green building movement. It equips advocates with the insight and perspective to understand the use of the globally recognized LEED rating system and to make a strong case for sustainable building activity. The report was produced with oversight from the LEED User Group: Industrial Facilities, whose members include BASF, Aecom, CH2M and Turner Construction. It can be viewed at