Ford To Invest $2 Billion In Eco-Friendly Rouge Center

By BridgeNews Ford Motor Co. announced plans to transform its Ford Rouge Center in Dearborn, Mich., into an eco-efficient plant. The automaker will invest about $2 billion into revamping the plant. Plans include a roof covered by plants and porous pavement to manage storm water runoff. The reinvestment into the Rouge complex comes as part of Ford's Cleaner, Safer, Sooner campaign. The campaign is the automaker's pledge to be an environmentally conscious, safety-oriented company. "This is not environmental philanthropy; it's sound business, which for the first time, balances the business needs of auto manufacturing with ecological and social concerns in the redesign of a brownfield site," says Ford Chairman William Clay Ford Jr. "This is what I think sustainability is about, and this new facility lays the groundwork for a model of 21st century sustainability manufacturing at the Rouge." Henry Ford established the Rouge plant 83 years ago for what was intended to be a tractor plant. The plant briefly produced boats for World War I, but the war ended before the plant saw any action. Rouge began producing the Model A in 1927 and is now the home of the Ford Mustang. The redesigned plant will feature the world's largest living roof on an industrial building. The 454,000 sq ft of the assembly plant roof will be covered with sedum, a ground cover that will absorb an hour's worth of rainwater and reduce runoff. Also, 4-ft-deep porous paving will be used around buildings to filter water into natural ditches and retention ponds. The use of natural plants, such as sunflowers, to rid the soil of contaminants will be incorporated, as well as the planting of more than 1,500 trees and berry bushes to create a natural habitat for animals. A new paint shop that reduces emissions by about one-third already has been constructed and is in operation. A new assembly plant and employee mall will be among the new facilities to be built. The new assembly plant will be capable of interchanging three vehicle platforms and producing up to nine different models.

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