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American Honda Motor Company Inc. has certified five new green buildings under the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards this year as part of an effort to further reduce the environmental impact of Honda's operations and products in the U.S. One of these facilities – Honda's Data Center in Longmont, Colo. – is the first LEED Version 2.2 Silver certified data center in the country. Data centers are considered difficult to certify because of their large energy consumption.
Honda's five LEED-certified facilities this year include:
· LEED-EB Platinum - Northwest Regional Facility in Gresham, Ore.;
· LEED-NC Gold - Honda R&D America's Acura Design Studio in Torrance, Calif.;
· LEED-NC Gold - American Honda's Midwestern Consolidation Center in Troy, Ohio;
· LEED-NC Gold - Honda Aircraft Company World Headquarters, Greensboro, N.C.; and,
· LEED-NC Silver - Data Center in Longmont, Colo.
In addition to these new certifications, Honda has two other LEED Gold buildings: Honda R&D America's central plant facility in Raymond, Ohio, certified in 2006, and American Honda's Northwest Regional Facility in Gresham Oregon, certified in 2002.
"The USGBC sees Honda's green building activity as a sign of its leadership and commitment to reducing the environmental impact of its buildings," said Doug Gatlin, vice president of market development for the U.S. Green Building Council. "In fact, Honda was the first to build a LEED Gold certified mixed-use industrial facility in the USA. In this Gresham, Oregon, facility they've looked at landscaping, water efficiency, use of native species and then all the efficiency optimization measures within the building. Honda's not only achieved LEED Gold but now gone back through to look at all the operational efficiencies that they can achieve and just this year earned a LEED Platinum certification through our Existing Buildings ratings system."
Among many site-specific efficiencies and innovations, these new facilities share common sustainable features such as:
· Energy Star highly reflective roof and dual-paned windows with low-emissivity glass to reduce solar heat gain
· Extensive use of recycled and recyclable materials in the building envelope and interior
· Use of U.S. steel, guaranteed to contain at minimum 25 percent, and often as much as 90 percent, recycled content
· Energy-efficient light fixtures with motion sensors
· Diversion of construction waste from landfills to recycling centers
· Selection of suppliers based on the high level of recycled content of their products and their proximity to the job site
"We have embraced the green building program for many years, since 1999 when we built our first certified building in Gresham, Oregon" said Barbara van Gaasbeek, national administrator of American Honda's green building programs. "Although it takes an increased amount up front to build a green building, the payback is in reduced utility bills, because of reduced water and electricity use. So for the lifetime of a building, say 20 to 50 years, that's a lot of payback."
Added van Gaasbeek, "It is the right thing to do and everyone should be doing it."
A few of the unique features at Honda's newly certified buildings include the Acura Design Studio's high-efficiency displacement ventilation system that moves cool air from rooftop air conditioning units to large, floor-level grills, where it displaces heat from the human body. The 547,000 square-foot Midwestern Consolidation Center has a mezzanine made from wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council as having come from sustainably-managed forest lands. And, the Honda R&D Central Plant uses an ice chiller system that reduces peak energy demand from air conditioning by as much as half.
"The triple bottom line for businesses pursuing LEED certification is people, planet and profit" said Gatlin. "Green building really demonstrates that environmental stewardship and profitability can go hand in hand. The improved indoor air quality for employees, reduced environmental footprint, and reduced operating expenses over the long term make it appealing for companies like Honda."