The new Volkswagen assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., recently earned one of eight grand awards for engineering excellence at the 47th Annual Engineering Excellence Awards. The award was presented to Volkswagen and SSOE Group representatives at an awards gala in Washington D.C.

Sponsored by the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), the Engineering Excellence Awards are chosen by a panel of judges representing industry, government, academia and media. Projects throughout the world are rated on the basis of uniqueness and innovative applications; future value to the engineering profession; perception by the public; social, economic and sustainable development considerations; complexity; and successful fulfillment of the client’s/owner's needs, including schedule and budget. The panel selects 24 award winners, with 16 honor awards and eight grand awards.

Along with its Engineering Excellence Award, the Volkswagen assembly plant has received a platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building certification program, becoming the only LEED platinum automotive manufacturing plant in the world, the first LEED platinum industrial campus in the U.S. and the largest platinum project in the U.S. (based on building area).

The facility was built on a 1,350-acre brownfield site and incorporates several innovative methods to lessen its environmental impact. The building is able to save 42 percent of the energy consumed from both the manufacturing process and building facilities. The plant also uses rain water to reduce water usage by 653,000 gallons per year.

In addition, roller-compacted concrete was chosen in lieu of asphalt in many areas, and a white roof with a high albedo was utilized throughout all buildings in order to minimize the heat-island effect.

Air-handling equipment was designed with heat-recovery wheels, which allow the reuse of heat energy prior to releasing it into the atmosphere. Skylights ensure natural lighting throughout the facility, reducing the energy demand from light fixtures. LED lighting was selected for the exterior, which uses 68 percent less energy than its predecessors.

For more information, visit www.ssoe.com.