Car factory, a new sustainable model for homes, buildings
Ferraris may be red, but their factory is green. This thought hit my mind when I recently visited the Italian sports car maker’s factory in Maranello, a small town in northern Italy.
But before you wonder why Ferrari, one of the most elite names in motoring, is being featured in a property section, allow me to explain that what was set up within the company’s 25-hectare facility should give anyone insight on how be sustainable.
The philosophy behind the renovation and redesign of the factory—known as the Formula Uomo—dictated that buildings and their functions should be designed with the needs of employees firmly in mind.
This means the whole place now combines carefully designed lighting systems, green areas, a new restaurant, climate control, noise damping, and special measures aimed at reducing environmental impact, with advanced technologies.
As our guide explained, Formula Uomo puts Ferrari employees firmly at the heart of the company, a reason why the factory went beyond building lush gardens and lining up streets with trees.
As a matter of fact, Ferrari installed solar photovoltaic array on the roof of the Mechanical Machining facility, a move that reduced the company’s energy use by 210 MW in its first year alone. This solar panels enable Ferrari to produce 213.9 mWh per year, making the company almost independent of the power grid.
According to Ansberto Padua, president of CFS Continental Technologies, a company that converts homes and small communities to utilize solar energy, solar panels are clever solution to reduce or even eliminates a household’s electric bills while generating “clean” energy.
“With household electricity bills rising, I believe now is an excellent time to take into consideration using photo voltaic energy to power your property. Having a solar panel installed can mean that a family or business can save a good portion of money each and every month by tapping into this source of renewable energy,” assured Padua.
Ferrari also invested $12 million (P511 million) in installing a trigeneration plant, which simultaneously produces power, heat and cooling from a single source (runs on more environmentally friendly natural gas).
By combining this trigeneration plant with the solar array, Ferrari has been able to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 40 percent or about 30,000 tons annually. These two upgrades allows the Ferrari factory to meet the objectives of the Kyoto Protocol 10 years ahead of schedule.
The Kyoto Protocol treaty, negotiated in 1997, is a legally binding agreement under which industrialized countries will reduce their collective emissions of greenhouse gases by 29 percent (compared to the emissions levels that would be expected by 2010 without the Protocol).
In 1997 a new assembly line at the factory was redesigned courtesy of famed architect Jean Nouvel, who also won the 2008 Pritzker Prize, the Nobel Prize of the architecture world.
The new Ferrari assembly lines feature large skylights and reflective plates that fill the interior with more natural light than usual at a car plant.
The result is a building that enables employees to depend less on artificial lighting system that utilizes electricity.
Of the 25,000 plant species that could be found within the Ferrari factory, a great portion of these could be found inside buildings, scattered across factory shop floor or encircling various meeting areas.
The reason behind this is the fact that trees take in carbon dioxide and provide people with oxygen, cleaning and freshening the air.
In addition, over 100 trees are planted along the roads around the factory.
To further clean the air within the facility, Ferrari made sure cars are parked in designated areas and encouraged employees to run, walk, or cycle (there are over 100 red commuter bikes provided for use in moving around the factory (the only vehicles allowed to roam the roads are the newly crafted Ferrari models being tested, lifters and delivery trucks).
Located just four kilometers from the Ferrari plant is the Maranello Village, the world’s first residential complex featuring over 120 apartments exclusively available for Ferrari personnel.
The residence is connected to the Ferrari factory via a bicycle lane although there is an external parking and a covered car park for up to 150 cars.
Ferrari believed that by providing on site cycling incentives and rewards—along with sending out clear signals from the top that cycling to and from the office is a good thing—can all help make cycling a realistic, alternative option for travelling to work.
After all, if more of Ferrari staff cycled to work it would result in a healthier, fitter workforce with the all associated benefits of increased productivity and reduced absenteeism that entails.