BASF licenses CAM-7 Li-ion cathode materials from CAMX Power LLC
ARPA-E issues $30M NEXTCAR program funding opportunity; 20% reduction in energy consumption beyond current regulatory requirements

Ford launches 10-year project to transform Dearborn campus; sustainability in the built environment; Living Building Challenge

Ford Motor Company unveiled its plans to transform its Dearborn facilities into a modern, green and high-tech campus to foster innovation and help drive the company’s transition to an auto and a mobility company. The 10-year transformation of the company’s more than 60-year-old Dearborn facilities will colocate 30,000 employees from 70 buildings today into primarily two locations—a product campus and a world headquarters campus. More than 7.5 million square feet of work space will be rebuilt and upgraded into even more technology-enabled and connected facilities.

The transformation will integrate sustainability and innovation throughout the built environment, including a new Sustainability Showcase building on the product campus, which will aim to meet Living Building Challenge standards, the highest level of sustainability certification today. To be certified under the Challenge, projects must meet a series of ambitious performance requirements over a minimum of 12 months of continuous occupancy. Among the key criteria is that 100% of the building’s energy needs on a net annual basis must be supplied by on-site renewable energy. No combustion is allowed.


Renderings of the Sustainability Showcase. Click to enlarge.

Ford’s zero-waste, net zero-energy, net zero-water Sustainability Showcase facility will produce more energy than it consumes, and will use geothermal heating and cooling and photovoltaic power generation. Although the Sustainability Showcase will embody the highest level of sustainability designs and practices, the entire campus—including remodeled and refurbished buildings as well as new builds—will incorporate sustainable designs, technologies and practices, many of them used or developed over the past 15 years at Ford sites.

Just as the Rouge manufacturing renovation completed in 2003 set a new standard for sustainability, we expect to do the same as we transform our campuses into a modern, efficient complex that enhances the environment.

—Bill Ford, Ford executive chairman

Throughout the two campuses, increased building insulation, new glazing systems, state-of-the-art lighting and daylighting, and heat recovery will reduce overall energy use in new buildings by approximately 50% annually. Overall potable water use will be significantly reduced through advanced water fixture selection, metering and process enhancements.

Everything we’re talking about, we’ve been trying and experiencing in our global manufacturing. A lot of this we learned about by refurbishing facilities over last 15 years. With the 2003 Rouge renovation, we piloted many things: fuel cells to generate electricity, porous concrete, green roofs, employees having beehives. We are applying the learnings from manufacturing and putting them into play around the whole campus. We really believe it makes business sense.

—Andy Hobbs, director, Ford Environmental Quality Office

Although Ford is pushing the envelope on certain elements, it is not razing the campus to start anew, Hobbs noted. The company anticipates all renovated facilities on both campuses will achieve at a minimum silver certification through the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design process. All new construction is planned to meet LEED Gold certification standards, including sustainable material selection and material ingredient transparency.

When we are knocking down buildings, we consider the orientation of the new building, maximizing shading, minimizing heating, optimizing employee access to natural daylight.

—Andy Hobbs

The new buildings will have high-performance energy systems incorporating daylighting, solar orientation, natural airflow ventilation and heat recovery. An advanced storm water management system will capture, clean and reduce storm water run-off, while a greening of the site will include more planted areas and native species, a tree canopy and natural rain retention areas.

We have to look at everything holistically. How do we make sure we minimize wastage, and maximize productivity? How do we reuse energy? How do we go beyond LEED?

The design for everything is not complete, but this will be a low entropy campus, minimizing energy wastage and creating a super environment. This is what we are going to do. We think we can justify it. There tends to be a belief that business decisions and environmental actions are mutually exclusive. Over the last 15 years we have demonstrated that we can present compelling arguments that make business sense and that benefit communities and stakeholders as well.

—Andy Hobbs

SmithGroupJJR designed the new campus layout, applying inspiration from tech companies and university campuses. Designs incorporate the seven concepts of the WELL Building Standard, which look at how air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mental and emotional health impact employees.

Overview of the transformation. A walkable community with paths, trails and covered walkways, the product campus will include a new design center, autonomous vehicles, on-demand shuttles, eBikes, new onsite employee services, wireless connectivity speeds up to 10 times faster than today and more green spaces.

A second campus location around the current Ford World Headquarters building will feature a new Ford Credit facility and provide onsite employee services, improved connectivity and enhanced accessibility to the expansive green space that surrounds the building.

Construction of the new product campus begins this month at the Ford Research and Engineering Center. The majority of work is expected to be complete by 2023. Major work on the second campus around Ford World Headquarters begins in 2021 and is expected to be complete in 2026. Ford has not yet released cost figures for the full project.


Top: 1953 photo of Ford Research & Engineering Center. Bottom: Rendering of the new product campus. Click to enlarge.

Product campus. The current Ford Research and Engineering Center Campus—dedicated by US President Eisenhower in May 1953—currently houses 12,000 employees. It is being transformed into a contemporary, innovative work environment to accommodate 24,000 employees in 4.5 million square feet of upgraded work space.

Key features will include:

  • New connected facilities that will feature the latest wired and wireless hardware designed to last many years;

  • Work spaces that foster collaboration and spark innovation;

  • A central green area that will link buildings with walking trails, bike paths and covered walkways;

  • Energy-saving sustainable technologies, including geothermal heating and cooling; and

  • Water-saving technologies, such as rainwater capture and automated metering.

The campus also will serve as a pilot location for Ford Smart Mobility solutions, including autonomous vehicles, on-demand shuttles and eBikes to transport employees.

The all-new, more-than-700,000-square-foot Design Center will be the focal point of the campus and include new studios and an outdoor design courtyard. The historic 14,000-square-foot Ford Design Showroom will remain and will be upgraded to be used as an event venue.

Rendering of new World Headquarters Campus. Click to enlarge.

Ford World Headquarters Campus. The current Ford World Headquarters building was dedicated in 1956 and reflects thought-leading architecture of that time. When campus renovation begins in 2021, care will be taken to retain the iconic image of the building while providing both exterior and interior enhancements.

The new campus will include:

  • More than 1.3 million square feet of reworked space;

  • A new Ford Credit facility connected to World Headquarters, forming a more cohesive, employee-friendly campus;

  • Improved connectivity, walkways, covered parking decks and outdoor recreation facilities, including softball and soccer fields; and

  • Enhanced green spaces with planted areas, native species and tree canopy, including the renewal of the Arjay Miller Arboretum started in 1960.

All employees in the World Headquarters campus, including senior executives, will have better technologically connected facilities and open work spaces, creating a collaborative environment. In the near term, both Ford World Headquarters and Ford Credit facilities will receive updates to common areas, including a modern cafe at World Headquarters.

When complete, Ford’s Dearborn campuses will complement the company’s state-of-the-art facility that opened in Palo Alto, California, last year. The company plans to apply best practices and space standards from the Dearborn campus project as it upgrades its other global office environments.


Henry Gibson

Yes you can make electricity far more expensive with solar cells and can go bankrupt far more quickly. Not a single mention of solar heat. "geothermal" heat is now just heat pumps run by electricity. Please use magnetic bearing Turbocor compressors which need no oil until the US government has to bail you out again. Solar electricity in Spain costs 50 cents per KWH to make; what does Ford pay now. "Renewable" standards for a company that makes a product that is responsible for producing a product which is one of the highest consumers of fossil-fuels. Forget renewable energy buildings; Use Artemis digital displacement hybrid technology in all of your automobiles and reduce their fuel consumption to half or less. ..HG..

The comments to this entry are closed.