Chrysler Group LLC announced March 19 that its all-new Trenton (Mich.) South Engine Plant has been awarded a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Green Building System certification for meeting the highest environmental standards. In fact, Trenton is one of only four auto manufacturing facilities to receive a LEED rating of any kind and the only engine manufacturing facility in the world to achieve the honor.

Michigan Governor Jennifer M. Granholm, Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano, Trenton Mayor Gerald Brown, United Auto Workers Chrysler Department assistant director Tim Bressler and other local officials joined Chrysler Group executives and employees to celebrate the honor during a Job One event for the all-new Pentastar V-6 engine made at the plant.

“The Trenton South Engine Plant has established a new industry benchmark for efficient, environmentally conscious design,” said Scott Garberding, head of manufacturing, Chrysler Group LLC. “This Gold certification is tangible evidence of Chrysler’s dedication to the environment and to the well-being of our surrounding communities.”

LEED, administered by the United States Green Building Council, is a comprehensive system to define, measure and validate “green buildings.” Certification in the national recognition program is based on strict standards in five key areas: site planning, water management, energy, material use and indoor environmental quality.

Trenton South was designed for both efficient manufacturing and minimal environmental impact. It was built on a brownfield site and designed to embrace the highest environmental standards to address the complete lifecycle of the facility.

Buildings are the number one contributor to CO2 emissions, according to a 2006 study by the Energy Information Administration. As a result of its innovative design and attention to detail, the Trenton South Engine Plant has reduced its CO2 emissions by more than 12,000 metric tons per year – the equivalent to the energy use of nearly 1,000 homes.

During the building’s construction, 44 percent of the materials used included recycled content. More than 90 percent of construction waste – about 6,750 tons – was recycled and diverted from landfills. In addition, over 80 percent of the building materials were procured from regional sources, further contributing to local economies and the use of regional resources.

The new plant also lowers total energy use by 39 percent, resulting in a savings of $1.25 million per year. Total water use has been reduced by 1.5 million gallons per year compared to the previous manufacturing facility. Contributing to environmental improvements are higher performance insulation, more efficient manufacturing processes, and higher efficiency fluorescent lighting, and heating and cooling systems.

Chrysler also continues its commitment to Zero-Waste-to-Landfill processes at Trenton South, which will divert more than 670 tons of waste from landfills.

The heat-island effect on the surrounding environment has been minimized by incorporating native grasses and trees, reducing the number of vehicle parking spaces while adding car and van pool spaces, and using a white “cool” roof and light-colored hardscape throughout.

Chrysler Group achieved the LEED Gold certification with the help of two architect/engineering firms, BEI Associates Inc. of Detroit and Harley Ellis Devereaux of Southfield, Mich., and the construction management firm Walbridge of Detroit.