FedEx Express Global HQ, Vegas Facility Earn LEED-Gold Ratings

FedEx Express Global HQ, Vegas Facility Earn LEED-Gold Ratings

FedEx Express, the cargo airline of FedEx Corp., said yesterday that two of its more prominent facilities have received LEED-Gold ratings and that going forward all new sites will be certified to the standards developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The green building certifications, the first for FedEx Express, were awarded to the company's world headquarters (pictured left) in Memphis, Tenn., which opened in 2000, and the recently completed Las Vegas facility, which includes a warehouse for sorting packages, a maintenance bay for vehicles and an office building.

The requirement that all new buildings attain LEED certification is the latest environmental measure to emerge under the FedEx Corp.'s EarthSmart rubric. The EarthSmart program pulls together the company's sustainability efforts and groups them into three broad categories -- business solutions, workplace culture and community outreach -- that support FedEx's green goals.

Initiatives that meet EarthSmart parameters are allowed to display the program's logo, which for LEED-certified green buildings looks like this:

"When I was asked to put a requirement in our FedEx Express building specifications for our newly built facilities to obtain LEED Certification, I didn't think I heard correctly," said FedEx Express Project Architect Steve Mangin in a post on the company's blog yesterday.

"Surely we just want to specify that our buildings might go for LEED, not that we really intend to certify all our future projects, right? Wrong! Yes, we wanted to save energy, help the environment, and create better places for our customers and employees, but we also wanted to be sure that FedEx was doing it the right way."

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and the third-party rating and assessment system awards certification at four levels -- basic certification, silver, gold and platinum. The system has a range of standards for new and existing structures, commercial interiors and other types of buildings.

FedEx Express headquarters achieved its LEED-Gold rating under the standard for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance. To earn the designation at the nine-building campus, which was conferred last week, the company took several steps including cutting water consumption 17 to 22 percent by installing low-flow aerators and water efficient shower heads and upgrading the air filtration system at the site, FedEx spokeswoman Deborah Willig told GreenBiz.com.

The changes resulted from devising policies for "green standard operating procedures" indoors and outdoors, waste management, use of green cleaning products and equipment, and tracking and reporting the outcome of efforts, she said.

At the Las Vegas facility, which received its LEED-Gold rating for new construction in December, low-flow plumbing fixtures cut indoor water use by 49 percent when compared to the amount of water that would have been consumed if basic code-compliant fixtures were in place, according to Willig.

The building also is expected to use 42 percent less energy than a comparably sized facility without environmental design elements. Those at the Las Vegas site include daylighting of more than 75 percent of occupied space, skylights and evaporative cooling.

While the environmental elements and practices at the two sites won FedEx Express its first LEED ratings, the company and its corporate parent have long worked toward increased energy efficiency, use of renewables and advanced technology at on-site generation at facilities and for fuel efficiency in vehicles and planes.