Planting the seeds of corporate ecological stewardship, Ford Motor Co. is using sustainable design as the driving force behind the $2 billion redevelopment of its historic Rouge Center manufacturing plant in Dearborn, Mich.

The sustainable centerpiece of the new assembly plant, which will replace the Dearborn Assembly Plant, is a 454,000-sq.-ft. “living roof” — the world’s largest, according to Ford. The roof of the plant, which is under construction and expected to be completed in 2003, is being designed to provide a number of energy- and facilities-cost-saving benefits, according to William McDonough. The roof plays a major role in the project’s integrated heating and cooling system, which McDonough says will make it one of the most efficient buildings anywhere in terms of BTUs used per person.

The 4-in.-deep sod roof will be covered with sedum, a succulent, drought-resistant groundcover, and other plants, selected by landscape architect Nelson Byrd, Charlottesville, Va.
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