LEED Platinum-Certified Green Building and Its Importance in RMG Sector

This article is contributed by Naushad Zubair.

green building

Recently, I had the privilege of visiting a readymade garment manufacturing company in Bangladesh. The factory that I visited is certified as a LEED Platinum green building. You know what a LEED Platinum-certified factory means. The fashion industry is considered one of the top contributors to climate change that pollutes air, water, and the environment.

In such situations, green buildings are hoped to reduce the negative impacts of fast fashion on the environment due to fast fashion manufacturing. 

Building a green, sustainable garment manufacturing facility can be significant, the long-term benefits in terms of cost savings, brand reputation, regulatory compliance, employee well-being, and environmental impact make it a worthwhile investment. 

Key observations in a green factory

Here are some key observations from my visit:

Green buildings are designed with eco-friendly layouts. The factory's design prioritizes environmental sustainability, incorporating green energy sources and efficient layouts.

The LEED-certified factory uses green energy for running machines and equipment. The entire facility is powered by renewable energy, significantly reducing its carbon footprint.

To enhance air quality and provide a natural cooling system the factory has planted plants between the manufacturing floors.

Despite its green initiatives, the factory maintains high production efficiency, demonstrating that sustainability and productivity can go hand in hand.

This factory is a shining example of sustainable innovation in the industry.

I aimed to share my observations in the LEED-certified garment factory. At the same time, I like to share some notes on the following points that I learned.
  • Benefits of having green buildings
  • Challenges in constructing Green Building and getting LEED certification
  • Long-Term Benefits of Green, Sustainable Factories

Benefits of Green Buildings

In a time when the world is grappling with severe heat waves and environmental challenges, green buildings offer several crucial benefits:

Mitigating Climate Change: 
Reducing energy consumption is the main goal of green buildings. The manufacturing sector consumes a lot of resources and energy to run the machinery in various textile and garment manufacturing processes. By reducing energy consumption and emissions, green buildings help combat global warming.

Improving Air Quality: 
Some of the production processes like fabric cutting and garment stitching generate a lot of lint and dust on the production floors. These cause health issues for employees and workers working inside such buildings. A green building designed to improve the air quality of the building premises. Better ventilation and the use of non-toxic materials contribute to healthier indoor environments. An air ventilation system is necessary for production floors whether it is a green building or not. Air ventilation helps to keep the room temperature by supplying fresh air.

Conserving Resources:
In green practice, factories need to conserve water and energy. Efficient water and energy use conserve essential resources, making operations more sustainable.

Enhancing Biodiversity:
Incorporating green spaces and plant life supports local ecosystems and biodiversity.

Challenges of Green Building in Garment Manufacturing

Green factory

High Initial Costs:
The initial investment in constructing a green building with sustainable materials and green technologies often has higher upfront costs compared to conventional options. In terms of technology, installing energy-efficient systems, renewable energy sources, and water recycling facilities can be expensive. So, the business promoters need to consider additional costs in constructing their factory buildings for operations.

Regulatory and Certification Hurdles:
The second challenge is meeting the compliance and local Govt. regulations in terms of constructing green buildings. Meeting the requirements for green building certifications like LEED or BREEAM can be complex and time-consuming. Factory needs to meet all necessary criteria and certifications to get approval for green building. Navigating local building codes and environmental regulations can pose additional challenges.

Supply Chain Issues:
Once a factory commits to going with green manufacturing and maintaining green business practices, it needs to follow certain guidelines in terms of sourcing material. Sustainable materials might have limited availability and higher transportation costs. Secondly, finding reliable suppliers who adhere to sustainable practices can be difficult. With constructing a green factory, businesses need to find a supplier who meets the sustainable practices in producing their products.

Operational Adjustments:
It has been observed that moving to a sustainable production method for the traditional production systems required changes in certain processes. Shifting to sustainable production methods may require significant changes to existing processes which is a challenging job for the management and operation team. Further, there will be a learning curve associated with new technologies and practices. This may cause productivity reduction in the initial days of sustainable production system installation.

Long-Term Benefits of Green, Sustainable Factories

Roof top solar panels

Though initial capital investments and challenging int are shifting sustainable production systems, there are long-term benefits that motivate business promoters to accept the challenges. Here, I have listed some of the long-term benefits.

Cost Savings:

Companies can save costs through 3 major areas energy efficiency, water efficiency and waste reduction. Lower energy consumption through efficient systems reduces utility bills. Sustainable water management practices lower water usage and costs. Minimizing waste can reduce disposal costs and improve overall efficiency.

Enhanced Brand Reputation:

Apparel brands prefer sourcing garments from such companies as it increases their reputation in the consumer market. Increasing consumer demand for environmentally friendly products can enhance brand loyalty and sales. A commitment to sustainability can improve a company's public image and attract investors.

Regulatory Compliance and Incentives:

Being ahead in compliance with environmental regulations can prevent future penalties and costs. Governments often provide tax breaks, grants, or other incentives for green building initiatives.

Improved Working Conditions:

Green buildings within the factory’s premises improve the working conditions for the workers. Better air quality, natural lighting, and non-toxic materials contribute to a healthier and more productive workforce. A pleasant and sustainable work environment can increase employee satisfaction and reduce turnover.

Environmental Impact:

With green buildings, an organization can reduce carbon footprints and conserve resources. Lower greenhouse gas emissions through energy-efficient practices contribute to fighting climate change. Efficient use of resources ensures long-term sustainability of operations.

Market Differentiation:

A green factory can differentiate a brand in a crowded marketplace, appealing to environmentally conscious consumers. They have a better reputation than their competitors who might be big but don’t have LEED certifications. Investing in green technologies can spur innovation and open new market opportunities. The green factories attract more businesses to the company.

building walls

Image: Building walls covered with plants. This improves the coverage of greenery. This initiative resulted in the low temperature of the building premises and increased oxygen.

Image credit: I am thankful to the company for allowing me to take photos of the factory premises.

About the Author: Naushad Zubair is a seasoned writer with a background in NIFT (Fashion Technology) and seven years of experience in the garment and technology fields. With a passion for technology, fashion, and innovation, he specializes in exploring the intersection of these industries. Naushad's expertise stems from visiting over fifty garment manufacturing factories, enabling him to craft engaging content that delves into emerging trends and advancements in the field.

Previous Post Next Post


Contact Form