Chattanooga VW Plant Gets LEED-Certified

The $1 billion plant is the only auto making plant in the world to receive the platinum designation for energy efficiency.

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — Volkswagen's manufacturing plant in Chattanooga has been named a LEED-certified factory, making it the only auto making plant in the world to receive the platinum designation, the German automaker announced Thursday.

LEED promotes sustainable building and development practices through rating systems.

Frank Fischer, CEO and chairman of Volkswagen Chattanooga, said the certification fulfills a company promise "to work in harmony with the environment."

The $1 billion plant builds the 2012 Passat sedan with a target of producing 150,000 vehicles annually for the American market. It had its grand opening in May and hired its 2,000th employee in late July.

The company said its paint shop will save 50 million gallons of water in 10 years. It said there is six inches of insulation using mineral rock wool, and special exterior lighting will use 68 percent less energy.

Rainwater is collected and reused to flush toilets and cool welding machines. The company also said the plantwas built on a brownfield property and nearby nature was undisturbed.

Jonathan Browning, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, Inc., said the certification "underscores Volkswagen's commitment to engineering excellence."

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