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DEARBORN - On Nov. 14, 2000, Ford began redevelopment of the entire Ford Rouge Center, including the new Dearborn Truck Assembly Plant, with its massive green roof, as the centerpiece of the nation’s largest industrial redevelopment project.
Ford worked with consultants and universities to transform the Rouge, an icon of the 20th century’s Industrial Revolution, into a 21st century symbol of responsible manufacturing. Through comprehensive redevelopment, the historic brownfield site became a lean, flexible manufacturing facility – an example of large-scale sustainability that has been benchmarked by companies, educators and organizations around the world.
Among Ford Rouge Center’s sustainability solutions are the pollution-reducing, energy-generating “fumes-to-fuel” system in its paint shop; natural lighting and efficient artificial lighting systems in its assembly areas; an energy-efficient heating, ventilation and cooling system; as well as the creation of a wildlife habitat.
The facility is best known for its innovative storm-water management system that includes the largest “living” roof in the automotive industry and one of the largest in the world. Sedum, a drought-resistant perennial groundcover, covers 10.4 acres of roof at the Rouge’s Dearborn Truck Plant.
Not only does the plant life help diminish storm-water runoff, it doubles the life of the roof, provides insulation, reduces cooling and heating demands by 5 percent, and absorbs carbon dioxide to reduce greenhouse gases. Additionally, a porous pavement parking lot, storm water swales and retention ponds are used to regulate water flow, evaporation and improve storm water management.
The historic Rouge Center also includes natural wildlife habitats, honey bee colonies and specific plants to create a biological process called phytoremediation – in which they break down and remove polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), a byproduct of years of steel manufacturing.
Since its completion in 2003, sustainability experts say the Ford Rouge Center project inspired other businesses and organizations around the world to pursue similar projects.