New color of business

Clayton Homes moves toward ‘green’ and receives LEED-EB Green Building certification

Clayton Homes was honored for its efforts to make its headquarters in Blount County more environmentally friendly on Friday, Nov. 20, when the company received the LEED certification, a program established by the U.S. Green Building Council and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute.

LEED is the nation’s preeminent program for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green building. Kevin Clayton, president and CEO of Clayton Homes , said it was an honor to receive the certification, but he said he was even more excited about reducing the company’s impact on the environment.

“That’s something our team members here at Clayton Homes can be proud of when they come to work every day.”

The LEED certification makes Clayton Homes only the fourth LEED-EB certified building in the state of Tennessee, and the 14th in the Southeast. Clayton Homes achieved LEED certification for its existing headquarters by maximizing operational efficiency, while minimizing environmental impacts.

“We use LEED standards as a road map to sustainability.” said Jason Langston, director of Corporate Services and Facilities and Clayton Homes’ LEED project coordinator. “Some great examples include our onsite restaurant offering healthy choices called ‘The Greenway’ as well as other environmental and healthy amenities. The result: team members do not have to leave the facility resulting in less environmental impact and healthier people.”

Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair of USGBC said Clayton Homes’ LEED certification demonstrates tremendous green building leadership. Fedrizzi said he is pleased the Berkshire-Hathaway company is sharing some of its best practices in its Home Building Facilities and Model Home Centers around the country. “Sustainability is something we’ve been interested in for years now, and we are using some of these same principals in the homes that we build for our customers,” said Clayton. Clayton Homes is the nation’s largest home builder, with more than 1.5 million homes built.

Earlier this year, Clayton Homes unveiled the Energy Star™ rated i-house, featuring solar panels, a rain water catchment system, high-end “low e” windows, a tankless water heater, low-flow faucets, and easily renewable bamboo flooring. Clayton Homes was also recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Systems Building Research Alliance and the Manufactured Housing Institute with five 2009 ENERGY STAR® Leadership in Housing Awards.

Clayton Homes is in good company with other LEED-ED Certified headquarters around the country, including McDonald’s World Headquarters in Illinois, Starbucks Center in Washington and the MGM Tower in California.

“The green building movement offers an unprecedented opportunity to respond to the most important challenges of our time, including global climate change, dependence on non-sustainable and expensive sources of energy and threats to human health,” said Fedrizzi.

LEED certification of Clayton Homes was based on a number of green design and construction features that positively impact the project itself and the broader community. These features include:

• Achieving 50 percent water savings

• Achieving overall 33 percent real energy savings

• Recycling 53 percent of waste stream

• Purchasing 60 percent of materials that include at least 10 percent post consumer content a sustainable and economical practice

• Optimizing the building indoor air quality through measuring and balancing outside air intake

• Establishing metrics for the impact that the on-site GreenWay restaurant, exercise facility, outdoor amenities and GreenWay-to-Go programs have had on the reduction of carbon emissions from the availability of these enhancements

Offering recycling containers for TM’s to bring in their home recyclables

Changing to eco-safe cleaning materials and cleaning equipment

Producing a complete operations manual (S.O.P.) based on the company’s existing culture of being proactive in all building systems

Developing a plan for complete site erosion and sedimentation control and complete site maintenance. About 202 acres are currently under the GreenBelt Tax designation with 60 acres designated for hay, according to a company press release.

According to the USGBC, an initial sampling of other LEED-EB certified buildings found that an average return on investment is 2.6 years and annual net savings totaling more than $170,000. “While the ROI is meaningful, the real reward is in making a difference; no matter how big or small the changes, the more we can make a positive impact on our planet, the better,” said Clayton.

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