General Motors’ new Lansing Delta Township (Mich.) Assembly Plant has received a gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. The building is the only automotive manufacturing plant in the world – as well as the largest facility and the most complex manufacturing site – to ever receive any level of LEED certification.

LEED certification is the building industry’s well-respected recognition of superior energy and environmental design and construction. A gold certification recognizes a high level of performance.

Over the first 10 years of operations, the facility is expected to save over 40 million gallons of water and 30 million kilowatts of electricity.

“Lansing Delta Township is the first of the next generation of industrial buildings,” said David Skiven, executive director, GM Worldwide Facilities Group. “It proves that sustainable manufacturing buildings can be economically built and operated. We are extremely proud of the innovative thinking of our employees and partners on the team that made this possible.”

Lansing Delta Township is one of just 550 buildings worldwide that are LEED certified at any level – of these buildings, only a third are certified at the gold level.

“General Motors has a global commitment to reduce the impact of its operations on the environment,” said Elizabeth Lowery, GM vice president, Environment and Energy. “In our older, established facilities, we are constantly making changes as we renovate buildings to keep them current with state-of-the-art environmental practices. At Lansing Delta Township it was a great experience to be able to start from scratch to design and build the world’s most environmentally advanced auto manufacturing plant.”

The plant will produce GM’s new crossover vehicles – the Saturn Outlook, GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave – and will start production during the fourth quarter of 2006.

Commenting on the certification, U.S. Green Building Council President S. Richard Fedrizzi noted that the acceptance of green buildings has been slower within the manufacturing sector than for other commercial uses.

“GM’s Lansing Delta Township Plant is a very good – and large – example of how it’s possible to incorporate sustainable practices into large scale manufacturing facilities,” Fedrizzi said. “Today, not only is it possible, it is cost and energy efficient, and provides a healthy environment for employees. We expect GM’s plant will change the way manufacturing buildings are built in the future.”

Paul Lemley, senior vice president and general manager, Alberici Group, which partnered with GM on the design and construction of the facility, said: “ Alberici is in the unique position of being heavily involved in both the automotive industry and the movement toward low environmental impacts for buildings. Our leadership in these areas allows us to state with certainty that GM has set a new standard for environmental concern with this new facility. No other manufacturer has created a facility of this magnitude with such low immediate and long term impact to the environment. This is a quantum leap forward for the industry. General Motors has done more than just talk about how the industry needs to respond to protect the environment; they have acted in a new and powerful way to demonstrate how this can be done.”

Paul Faeth, managing director of World Resources Institute, an independent nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C., that studies environmental and development issues, said: "GM has been a leader in the application of efficiency and renewables for quite some time. This award is a well-deserved recognition of the company's commitment to sound environmental management of their facilities." GM is a member of WRI's Green Power Market Development Group.

Some of the environmental highlights of the Lansing Delta Township plant include:

Energy and Atmosphere

  • Energy efficiency was designed into most systems, resulting in energy costs that are 45 percent lower than industry standards, with a projected savings of $1 million per year.
  • Bright task lighting and lower overhead lighting levels reduced lighting energy used in the plant by 20 percent, or 3 million kwh annually.
  • The 1.5 million square foot roof is made of a special white polymer that reduces heat absorption, resulting in reduced costs to cool the building.
  • No ozone-depleting substances (CFCs, HCFCs or halons) are used in any of the building’s heating and cooling, refrigeration, and fire suppression systems.

Materials and Resources

  • Of the construction materials used for the plant, more than 25 percent was composed of recycled content.
  • More than 60 percent of all materials used in the construction of the building were sourced through manufacturers located within 500 miles, supporting the local economy and reducing transportation energy costs.
  • Of the waste generated during construction, 80 percent, or 3,963 tons, was diverted from landfills.

Water Efficiency

  • Non-manufacturing water use has been reduced by 45 percent, for a savings of over 4.1 million gallons of water annually.
  • Rainwater is collected from the roof by a cutting-edge roof drain system. It is then stored in cisterns above rest rooms and is used instead of potable water to flush toilets.
  • Waterless urinals that use a filter-based technology save over 1 million gallons of water annually.

Sustainable Site

  • 50 percent of the site was left undeveloped. 75 acres has been set aside to preserve existing plants and wildlife habitat.
  • Storm water at the site is managed through an innovative system that uses unpaved ditches and culverts. This system allows much of the water to be naturally absorbed into the soil and groundwater in the area, and filters out solids before water leaves the site.
  • All landscaping added to the site consists of either native species or specially adapted drought-resistant plants to eliminate the need for an irrigation system.

“The good environmental decisions made regarding Lansing Delta Township were also good business decisions,” said Skiven. “The cost to construct the plant was less than a traditional assembly plant, and its operating costs also are significantly lower.”

General Motors Corp., the world’s largest automaker, has been the global industry sales leader for 75 years. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 327,000 people around the world. With global headquarters in Detroit, GM manufactures its cars and trucks in 33 countries.

Lansing Delta Township is 2.4 million square feet and will have approximately 3,000 team members when in full production. Lansing Delta Township Assembly is critical to GM's global manufacturing strategy, and sets the world standard for a state-of-the-art, innovative, high-tech automotive manufacturing facility of the future. The LEED certification covers the buildings housing the body shop, general assembly, administration building and visitor’s center. The buildings housing the paint shop and regional stamping activities on site are not covered by the LEED certification because they were previously contracted and constructed.

The U.S. Green Building Council is the nation’s foremost coalition of leaders from across the building industry working to promote buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to live and work. More information on USBBC can be found at