The unique green factory that supports a community
Method Manufacturing Facility
Chicago, IL, USA
William McDonough + Partners
Completed in 2015
Services provided by Buro Happold
An eco-friendly cleaning supply company, Method uses responsibly sourced ingredients to create colorful products that “put the hurt on dirt.”
In constructing their first US manufacturing facility, this progressive organisation not only aimed for the highest environmental standards but also sought to effect positive social change. Accordingly, it was vital to be positioned somewhere with high potential to improve the surrounding community. More than 100 locations were assessed before a 22-acre former brownfield site in Chicago’s historic Pullman neighborhood was selected.
Method’s 150,000ft2 facility – the first factory built on Chicago’s South Side in thirty years – contains product manufacturing, bottle production, warehousing, distribution, and administrative offices.
Buro Happold provided renewable energy consultancy and enhanced commissioning services for the project.
Rather than focusing on the metrics of what they wanted to achieve, the client was encouraged by the design team to lead with their values. Method strongly believes that business should play a leading role in creating good society. Consequently, a set of clear project goals that considered civic value, worker wellbeing, and green ideals was formulated.
Endeavoring to use a maximum of renewable energy was an important environmental criterion. As an overarching target, achieving a LEED Platinum rating was critical in creating a factory that could stand as a living embodiment of the Method brand.
With Buro Happold’s help, the building expresses Method’s mission at every scale. This facility is the world’s first LEED Platinum-certified manufacturing plant in the consumer packaged goods industry.
All of the factory’s energy is derived from renewable sources – approximately half is supplied by a refurbished 230-foot, 600 kW wind turbine. This is supplemented in the parking area by three 35ft x 35ft solar trees, which rotate to track the sun and provide up to 45.9 kW each. A separate 120-gallon solar-powered heating system provides hot water to office sinks and showers. The structural design maximizes ingress of natural light to lower energy use while boosting staff productivity and health.
Energy use is further reduced by a 1,500ft2 green roof above the entry canopy. This improves air quality, and lessens stormwater runoff to alleviate stress on public sewer systems. Elsewhere on the roof, urban agricultural pioneer Gotham Greens owns and operates a 75,000ft2 greenhouse that annually yields 1 million pounds of pesticide-free produce for the local retail and restaurant market.
By situating manufacturing, bottling and distribution in one place, the company’s carbon footprint is reduced. Less than 20% of the total acreage has been built on. Replanted and remodeled, the remaining land is now a grassy public space – featuring rainwater-retention ponds – that affords a welcoming habitat for wildlife.
Opened in 2015, Method’s factory has helped to revitalize the Chicago communities of Pullman and Roseland. Over 130 jobs have been created by the arrival of such a prominent company, which lets new and expanding enterprises know that this area is ready for business. From their Midwest base – known affectionately as the South Side Soapbox – Method can efficiently distribute green cleaning products to a growing multitude of loyal customers throughout North America.
Buro Happold’s renewable energy expertise helped the client to realize a transformative vision that delivers benefits on a local, national and global scale. Together we have created a thoroughly clean factory that sets out a template for ethical manufacturing in the 21st century.