Factories can be noxious and dingy places. But
they don’t have to be. The nation’s first LEED Plat-
inum manufacturing facility is under construction
right now in Chicago.
The factory will make liquid soap and other
products for Method, the San Francisco-based pur-
veyor of environmentally responsible home cleaning
and personal care products. Construction started
last year and employees will move in this October.
Heitman Architects is providing architectural serv-
ices for the project and Summit Design + Build is
the general contractor. William McDonough + Part-
ners is the project designer, Norris Design will han-
dle landscape architecture and Spaceco Inc. and
KJWW Engineering Consultants will act as civil and
MEP engineers, respectively.
There were a number of factors that led Method
to build in Chicago. “From a sustainability and dis-
tribution efficiency standpoint, it makes a lot of
sense,” said Adam Lowry, Method’s co-founder and
Chief Greenskeeper.” While there are many Mid-
west locations the company had to choose from,
Lowry singled out Chicago’s work force as a decid-
ing factor. Mayor Rahm Emanuel also actively peti-
tioned the project.
The site also received brownfield redevelopment
grants. The 22-acre property in Chicago’s Pullman
neighborhood was the site of a steel plant until the
s and has been vacant for decades. Method
benefited from some local tax breaks, and the
mayor’s office helped the company to identify avail-
able state and federal incentives as well.
We wanted to build, quite simply, the most ad-
vanced, ecological and socially beneficial factory
that the world’s ever seen,” said Lowry. The facil-
ity—the first one that Method has built in the U.S.
from the ground up—will take advantage of several
sources of on-site power generation, enough to sup-
ply at least half of the factory’s needs. A 230-foot
tall, utility-scale wind turbine will produce 600 kw
By Matt Baker
Images: William McDonough + Partners, Architects