The Making of a Sustainable Facility

Volkswagen’s new Chattanooga, Tennessee production facility is a model of environmental responsibility and sustainability. SSOE integrated these core values into every level of the project, from design through construction. The site includes outbound logistics, an extensive training center, media center, social hall, cafeteria, technical center, tank farm, recycling center, and fire station. [two_third_last] [accordion title="Sustainable or Recycled Materials and Resources"] The buildings are comprised of a concrete and steel infrastructure with an insulated metal skin. Locally extracted and manufactured materials were specifi ed. To the fullest extent possible, wood, cardboard, metal, and concrete were recycled using a local vendor resulting in nearly 78% (4,602 tons) of construction and demolition waste being recycled or salvaged. 48% of total building materials were manufactured using recycled materials. [/accordion] [accordion title="Energy Efficiency"] By using ASHRAE/IESNA standards to design the energy consuming systems, the team reduced the amount of energy that will be used in both the facility and manufacturing processes by 42%. On-site renewable energy sources generate a portion of the buildings’ energy needs. The facility will include a solar park to generate energy. A white, reflective roofing material was installed on 100% of the roof. It refl ects heat resulting in lower cooling costs and energy savings. [/accordion] [accordion title="Site Selection / Sustainable Site"] Significant time and money was invested in order to prepare the brownfield site— previously a munitions manufacturing and testing site. The team stabilized the soils, mitigated the pollution, and relocated an existing stream. Volkswagen set aside 235 acres as permanent green spaces and reserved additional acreage for native or adapted plants. An extensive storm water conveyance system consisting of bioswales, vegetative ditches, and culverts acts as the primary storm water management system. Specific plants were planted in the ditches and swales to fi ltrate suspended solids. To reduce the heat island effect, roller compacted concrete was placed in strategic areas of the parking lots and roadways. [/accordion] [accordion title="Eco-Friendly Practices"] All exterior lights provide only the minimum lighting required for safety to ensure that light does not spill into the night sky and adversely affect the surrounding nocturnal environments through excessive glare. Measures to promote environmentally friendly commutes include providing bike racks for visitors and employees, showers and lockers for employee use, and preferred parking for those driving low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles and those who carpool. [/accordion] [accordion title="Indoor Air Quality"] The HVAC system utilizes ASHRAE 62-2004 as its basis. A construction indoor air quality management program was successfully implemented with the support of all contractors working on-site. A stringent low-emitting materials policy is in place to reduce the use of off-gassing materials within the buildings in accordance with LEED indoor environmental credits 4.1–4.4 and 5.and preferred parking for those driving low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles and those who carpool. [/accordion] [accordion title="Water Conservation"] Through low-flow water closets and urinals, the plant achieves a 58% reduction in potable water used for sewage conveyance. Additionally, the plant collects rainwater from its roof for use in the sanitary waste system. Low-fl ow Continue Reading →

SSOE Designed Volkswagen Chattanooga Plant named Edison Green Award Gold Winner

Chattanooga, TN, May 15, 2012 - SSOE Group (, a global engineering, procurement, and construction management (EPCM) firm, is proud to announce that the Volkswagen Chattanooga Assembly Plant has been awarded the prestigious Gold 2012 Edison Green Award, the highest honor among Green Award winners. The award recognizes “excellence personified by Thomas Alva Edison, inspiring the drive to remain in the forefront of innovation, creativity and ingenuity in the global economy.”  The Green Award specifically recognizes the environmental and sustainability achievements at Volkswagen Chattanooga. SSOE performed architecture, engineering, and construction management for this $1 billion+ production facility which produces the 2012 Passat. SSOE also functioned as the Project Team Administrator (PTA) and Design Lead for all LEED credits. Continue Reading →

Site Selection Magazine: “Growth Curves”

Volkswagen's new Chattanooga, Tennessee automotive manufacturing campus is featured in Site Selection Magazine's May 2012 issue. SSOE Group's Brian Spencer, PE and Louise Schlatter, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C discuss the integration of LEED principles into the design of the 2.7 million SF facility. Continue Reading →

SSOE and General Motors Celebrate 1,000,000 Safety Man-hours in Shanghai

Shanghai, China, April 10, 2012 – SSOE Group (, an international engineering, procurement, and construction management (EPCM) firm, along with General Motors (GM), is celebrating another significant safety milestone. One million hours have been worked with no recordable incidents during Phase 2 of construction of GM’s first Chinese Automotive Research and Development (R&D) facility, otherwise known as GM China’s Advanced Technical Center. The new facility, currently being constructed in Shanghai, reached its’ first milestone of 500,000 hours worked without a recordable accident just seven months ago, during construction of the Advanced Materials Laboratory Building, or Phase 1, which opened on September 21, 2011. SSOE and GM were both represented during the celebration. President and Managing Director of the GM China Group, Kevin Wale, applauded the group noting, "This is truly a remarkable achievement – made possible only through the conscious effort each person put forth day in and day out to continuously review surroundings and look out for hazards on the job site before starting work. Safety is not just about numbers. It’s about protecting workers from injury. I want to congratulate the SSOE construction team and contractors on-site for managing the success of this project and for working with GM to support our safety program." Continue Reading →

Architect Magazine: “Planes, Trains and Automobiles – The next generation of automobiles begins with the design of the factory”

SSOE Group is featured in Architect Magazine's February 2012 issue. This article highlights the design and construction management SSOE performed for Volkswagen's new automotive assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Continue Reading →

Volkswagen Chattanooga Becomes World’s First LEED Platinum Automotive Manufacturing Plant with Design and Construction Management from SSOE Group

Chattanooga, TN, February 7, 2012 - SSOE Group (, an international engineering, procurement, and construction management (EPCM) firm, along with Vertegy, announce their involvement in the success of first and only LEED® Platinum automotive manufacturing plant in the world. Volkswagen’s Chattanooga manufacturing plant was recently awarded a Platinum certification, the highest designation possible from the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building certification program. Continue Reading →