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Whirlpool Earns LEED Certification for Regional Distribution Centers

Whirlpool Corporation (NYSE: WHR) today announced its regional distribution centers (RDCs) in McDonough, Ga. (near Atlanta) and Spanaway, Wash. (near Seattle), has been award Gold LEED Certification and its RDCs in Columbus, Ohio, and Denver, Colo., have been awarded LEED Certification.

Whirlpool regional distribution center in McDonough, Ga.

LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system, providing third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance across all the metrics that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.  The LEED rating system offers four 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).

Large enough to hold 31 football fields each, Whirlpool Corporation's 1.6 million square foot Atlanta and Columbus facilities are among the 10 largest LEED certified warehouses in the United States.  The Atlanta facility is the largest LEED Gold industrial building in the United States 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 percent and more than 40 percent water efficiency.

"Pursuing the voluntary LEED certification is just another example of Whirlpool Corporation's commitment to sustainability," said Brian Hancock, vice president of Whirlpool Corporation's supply chain organization.  "When we were planning construction of these buildings we knew we wanted environmentally-friendly and efficient design."

Whirlpool achieved LEED certification for energy use, lighting, water and material use, as well as incorporating a variety of other sustainable strategies.  By using less energy and water, LEED certified buildings save money for families, businesses and taxpayers; reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and contribute to a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community.

"Buildings are a prime example of how human systems integrate with natural systems," said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founder, U.S. Green Building Council.  "Whirlpool Corporation's Atlanta, Columbus, Denver and Seattle distribution centers efficiently use our natural resources and make an immediate, positive impact on our planet, which will benefit future generations to come."

Gold LEED certification of the Atlanta and Seattle RDCs and LEED certification of the Columbus and Denver RDCs was based on a number of green design and construction features that positively impact Whirlpool and the broader community. These features include:

  • Open Space: To provide a high ratio of open space to promote biodiversity, the Denver and Seattle RDCs were located on sites larger than the facility required in order to maximize open space.  As part of the purchase, a majority of each site was restored to a natural state by planting native seed, achieving greater than a 60 percent increase in open space over zoning requirements on each site.
  • 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 and to remove pollutants from runoff from impervious areas.
  • Heat Island Effect Roof:  White TPO membrane with an SRI value of nearly 100 were installed across the each roof to provide a highly reflective surface and reduce heat island effect, or warmer temperatures experienced in developed or urban areas compared to adjacent rural areas as a result of solar energy retention on constructed surfaces.
  • Heat Island Effect Non-Roof: The Atlanta RDC used non-colored concrete for roadways, sidewalks and parking areas, which also helps reduce heat island effect.
  • Light Pollution Reduction: Interior and exterior lighting for the Atlanta and Seattle RDCs are designed with automatic lighting controls that turn off non-essential lighting during non-business hours to minimize light trespass from the building and site, and to also avoid night sky pollution.
  • Water Use Reduction: The restrooms in all four RDCs are equipped with dual-flush valves for the toilets and high-efficiency low-flow urinals.  Faucets in the facility also are ultra low-flow. The performance of these fixtures should result in more than 40 percent reductions in annual water savings at RDC.
  • Optimized Energy Performance: Installation of highly efficient fluorescent interior and exterior lighting, electric space heating, pump usage and heat rejection, as well as lighting control measures such as task lighting and switches with occupancy sensor overrides significantly reduces energy use.
  • 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 whenever possible during the construction of the buildings. Nearly 60 percent of the wood used to build the Columbus RDC, more than 70 percent used in the Atlanta RDC, and more than 85 percent used in the Seattle RDC was Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified.
  • Measurement and verification: The Seattle RDC has implemented a building automation and control system to support 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 materials (paint, carpet, etc.) were used in an effort to reduce the quantity of indoor air contaminants harmful to provide a healthier working environment.
  • Increased Ventilation: Increased fresh air ventilation in all occupied spaces was designed to exceed the minimum rates required by more than 30 percent.
  • 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. The Atlanta and Spanaway RDCs' landscaping is comprised of native plantings and drought tolerant species that require no irrigation, resulting in a 100 percent reduction in potable water use. The majority of the landscaping for the Denver RDC is a native seed that requires no irrigation. The remaining areas around the entry, parking areas, and building perimeter landscaped with trees and shrubs utilize a drip irrigation system, irrigation controllers and rain sensors to increase irrigation efficiency, resulting in a 97 percent reduction in water use.  The Columbus RDC reuses collected rain water to irrigate the native plants used in the landscaping.


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